Sometimes a stye or a chalazion doesn’t heal after treatment with hot compresses or medication, even after weeks of treatment. It may become a painful nuisance, weighing down your eyelid and temporarily blocking your vision. NYU Langone eye specialists may then recommend draining the bump surgically.
At NYU Langone, surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist or an oculoplastic surgeon, a doctor who specializes in reconstructive surgery around the eyes. Surgery is usually performed in the doctor’s office, using local anesthesia.
Rarely, a stye may progress to superficial cellulitis, a potentially more serious infection of the eyelid that can lead to an abscess—a swollen, pus-filled mass on the skin. If you have an abscess, your doctor may recommend draining it in a sterile environment.
During a procedure in the office, your doctor may allow for drainage of the abscess with a needle or another surgical instrument. If you have cellulitis, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics you take by mouth for 7 to 10 days.
If a chalazion persists for more than one to two months, a surgical incision and drainage may be necessary. Surgery to treat a chalazion is an office procedure that takes about 15 to 20 minutes to perform.
The doctor injects a numbing agent into the eyelid and makes a small incision in the bump. The doctor then drains the fluid and removes the material collected within the nodule. Typically, no stitches are required. The eyelid may feel sore for a few days after the procedure.
Chalazion surgery is commonly performed from underneath the eyelid, so there is typically no scar. If a chalazion needs to be removed from the outside of the eyelid, you may have a small scar.
After surgery, your doctor may put a pressure patch on your eye and prescribe an antibiotic cream or eyedrops to be used for one week to prevent infection. You may take a shower and resume your usual activities immediately afterward.
Learn more about our research and professional education opportunities.