Stye: What is it, causes, treatment and prevention | Eye Health

Stye: What Is It, Causes, Treatment & Prevention

A stye, also known as a hordeolum, is a painful, small and red lump that develops from your eyelash follicle or from an oil-producing gland under your eyelid(s). This lump is tender to the touch and has pus. Yellow or white discharge might ooze out from your eyes as well.

Stye

EXTERNAL                                                            INTERNAL

Types of styes

There are two kinds of styes owing to differences in their underlying causes.

  • External stye: This is a stye that starts at the base of your eyelash, usually due to an infection in the eyelash follicle. An internal stye might look like a pimple.
  • Internal stye: This is a stye inside your eyelid, typically owing to an infection in an oil-producing gland in your eyelid.

Your eyelid would generally be red, and tender to the touch after you first get a stye. You might suffer from sore and itchy eyes as a result.

If you have blepharitis (a condition that makes your eyelids at the base of the eyelashes red and swollen), you can also develop a stye and notice red and swollen eyelids at the base of your eyelashes. Your eyelid margin might feel crusty, and you might tear more frequently than usual due to your stye.

How do you prevent a stye?

Take better care of your eyelids, by getting rid of the germs and dead skin cells that bacteria like to feed on. Use a cotton swab to delicately wipe a mixture of mild baby shampoo and warm water solution along the base of your eyelashes, while keeping your eyes closed, for about 30seconds per eye. Alternatively, purchase over the counter lid scrubs from your nearby drugstore to clean your eyelids.

Avoid putting on expired or someone else’s makeup, used towels, or touching your eyelids with dirty hands.

Look out for early warning signs of styes, such as tender spots near your eyelashes. Upon detecting such early signs, apply a warm compress and then slowly massage the area to prevent the stye from developing. If symptoms still persist despite trying warm compress, please see an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) at the earliest opportunity.

How can you seek treatment for your stye?

Warm compress and eyelid scrub

Soak a clean washcloth in warm water and keep it onto your eyelid for 10–15 minutes at a time, 3–5 times daily. This warm compress opens and drains clogged oil glands to deal with styes.

Use a cotton swab to delicately wipe a mixture of mild baby shampoo and warm water solution along the base of your eyelashes, while keeping your eyes closed, for about 30seconds per eye.

Alternatively, purchase over-the-counter lid scrubs from your nearby drugstore to clean your eyelids.

Antibiotics

Your eye doctor may prescribe an antibiotic ointment for your stye to help combat bacteria causing the infection.

Surgery

If it reduces the quality of your vision, you might need surgery to drain it. Your doctor could conduct the surgery in the office using local anesthesia.

Bear in mind that if you suffer from a recurring one, your eye doctor might need to perform a biopsy. A biopsy is a process whereby your doctor extracts a tiny piece of tissue from the infected area to study it to determine the types of bacteria causing the recurrence or if you are suffering from a more deep-rooted eye problem.

Do not squeeze

However tempting it might appear to be, squeezing a stye could spread the infection into your eyelid. Also, avoid wearing eye makeup or lenses when infected. Sign up for an eye check appointment with planoEyecheck to determine if you have a stye or other eye diseases.

 

References

American Academy of Ophthalmology. 2022. What Are Styes and Chalazia?. [online] Available at: <https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-are-chalazia-styes> [Accessed 15 January 2022].

WebMD. 2022. Styes: How Do You Prevent Them?. [online] Available at: <https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/understanding-sty-prevention> [Accessed 15 January 2022].

WebMD. 2022. Chalazion. [online] Available at: <https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/chalazion-what-is> [Accessed 15 January 2022].

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