Bumps on eyelids are often mistaken for pimples, but they are usually eye conditions such as styes or chalazia.
A stye and a chalazion will go away on their own and will not lead to other eye ailments. An individual can speed up the healing process by applying a warm compress, which can be done by soaking a clean washcloth in warm water and then using it to cover the affected eye.
Differences Between a Pimple, Stye & Chalazion
It is rare for a pimple to be on an eyelid, so a bump in that area is more than likely a stye or a chalazion. All three types of bumps are similar in appearance, but they form differently.
- A pimple develops when an opening of a hair follicle is clogged.
- A stye forms when an oil gland gets infected with bacteria.
- A chalazion occurs when an oil gland becomes blocked.
Styes are often painful, and pimples and chalazia are generally not painful. However, both a pimple and a stye will go away within a week, and a chalazion can take up to four to six weeks to go away if left untreated.
Approximately 75 oil glands are present in each eyelid to help keep the eye moist. These meibomian glands are located directly behind the eyelash follicles. This is why a stye and a chalazion develop near the eyelashes.
What Causes a Stye?
When one of the oil glands becomes infected due to bacteria, a stye can develop. Usually, the bacterium staphylococcus is responsible for this infection. People with conditions such as blepharitis are more prone to getting a stye.
What Causes a Chalazion?
When one of the oil glands becomes clogged or blocked with something, a chalazion may occur. Poor hygiene, bad nutrition, and not blinking enough can all result in clogged or blocked meibomian glands. Similar to styes, people with blepharitis are more likely to develop chalazia. Rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, and tuberculosis can also contribute to the formation of a chalazion.
How to Get Rid of a Bump on Your Eyelid
Styes and chalazia are treated the same way. Patients can typically treat themselves without seeking medical attention by using a warm, moist compress, which increases blood flow and speeds up the healing process.
Here are instructions for creating a warm compress:
Find a clean and sanitized bowl or sink and fill it up with warm water. The water should be warm to the touch, but not so hot that it scalds.
Completely submerge a clean cloth into the water immediately after filling the bowl to retain the warmth of the water.
Remove the cloth and wring out excess water, leaving the cloth warm and damp.
Close the affected eye and slowly place the cloth on it, applying small amounts of pressure if needed. Do not use too much pressure, as this can make the stye or chalazion more irritated.
Leave the warm compress on the affected area for 10 to 25 minutes. This process can be repeated several times throughout the day.
What Not to Do
A person with a stye or a chalazion should never attempt to squeeze or poke at their bumps. Doing so puts them at risk of damaging their eyelids. This will only make the stye or chalazion worse and potentially spread the infection.
Do not attempt to pop or poke the bump. This will also cause pain and make the stye or chalazion last longer.
How to Prevent a Stye or Chalazion
Preventing a stye or a chalazion involves proper hygiene and common sense. The following precautions and care should be taken:
- Avoid rubbing your eyes.
- Always wash your hands, especially before touching your eyes.
- Wash face makeup off before going to bed.
A white bump on an eyelid is relatively straightforward to prevent and easy to manage if it does occur.
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Seborrheic Dermatitis and Dandruff: A Comprehensive Review. (May 2016). Journal of Clinical and Investigative Dermatology.
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Last Updated November 1, 2022
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