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  • How Does a Stye or Chalazion Heal?


    My 6-year-old daughter had a chalazion on her upper eyelid for six weeks, then it came to a head and broke through the skin. Now it is as if a thick sack of gristle is trying to protrude — hanging out of a hole in the eyelid. Is it normal for it to rid itself in this way? We've only given her eye drops and several warm compresses a day for a couple weeks.


    A stye sometimes turns into a cystic structure, which is called a chalazion. These are generally inactive and non-inflammatory (without pain, redness or swelling). What you apparently are describing is an ordinary stye which has eroded to the surface and discharged some or all of its contents. You should clean it off, including what you perceive to be a "sack of gristle." A light squeeze might help a little but this is frequently painful and in a 6-year-old might not be appreciated. Heat is a very effective way to help this go away. Use a wash cloth under very warm water, and hold it to your face briefly. If it is too hot for you, then let it cool a little before applying it to your child. Then hold it onto the eye for 4-5 minutes and do this about 5 times per day. In almost all cases this will get rid of the stye. Rarely, it might require the attention of your ophthalmologist.

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