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The eye is surrounded by small oil-producing glands that help lubricate the eye. Occasionally, a gland becomes plugged and hard, forming a chalazion (ch lae zee on) and, at other times the gland becomes infected, in which case the resulting abscess is called a stye (sti).
A stye can cause one or more of the following symptoms:
Luckily, most styes stay small and are just a minor annoyance. They can be treated at home with warm compresses applied directly to the eye several times a day. They often resolve on their own within a few days. Styes that become more infected can be treated with antibiotics.
In the worst cases, styes can be surgically drained and/or removed in the doctor's office.
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Last updated or reviewed: 11-01-05