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Surgery for Stye

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.


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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.

Abscess Surgery

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.

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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.

Chalazion Surgery

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.

Our Research and Education in Stye

Learn more about our research and professional education opportunities.