WHAT ARE STYES?
WHAT ARE STYES?
Author: Dr. Leigh Plowman (Optometrist)
Styes — Definition, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options
A stye (sty) is a painful, red lump that forms near your eyelid's edge. A stye can look like a pimple or a boil that usually fills with debris. Styes commonly develop on the outside of your eyelid or on the inner part of the eyelid.
Some styes will start to disappear without you having to do anything in a week or two. Others can persist longer. In the meantime, there are ways to relieve the pressure or any pain.
If you've never had a stye in your eye or you have and want to know more, read on.
What Is A Stye?
A stye will form on your eyelid when the oil-producing, tiny gland in your eyelid skin gets blocked and infected. Medically speaking, a stye is also called a hordeolum. You can have one of two types of styes:
- External - This stye will form on the outer part of your lower or upper eyelid. This is the most common type of stye, generally caused by an infection of the eyelash follicle.
- Internal - An internal stye forms on the inner part of your upper or lower eyelid. Generally speaking, the most common cause is due to infection of the tiny oil gland (or Meibomian Gland) that keeps your eyes from feeling dry.
It's very common to get a stye on one eyelid, but they can form on both eyelids too. You shouldn't confuse a stye with a chalazion. Chalazia are bumps that form further back on your eyelid. However, the treatment for both styes and chalazia are very similar.
Stye Causes and Risk Factors
The main cause of a sty is an infection, and most of these infections are a direct result of the bacterium staphylococcus. So, it makes sense that you're at a greater risk for developing one if you:
- Use expired or old cosmetics
- Leave your eye makeup on overnight
- Don't wash your hands and touch your face
- Insert contacts without washing your hands or disinfecting them first
- Have rosacea
- Have blepharitis
- Experience hormonal changes
What Are Symptoms Of Styes?
Several symptoms can present when you have a sty forming. It's important to note that some people experience many symptoms, while others may have very few or none.
Common stye in eye symptoms include:
- Tearing in the affected eye
- Eyelid swelling
- Light sensitivity
- Eyelid margin crustiness
- A scratchy feeling in your eye
- Red bump at the eyelash base or on the eyelid's edge
- General soreness
Stye Treatment and Diagnosis
Usually, your doctor will diagnose a stye by looking at it. Your doctor might use a microscope and a light to examine the stye before giving you a formal diagnosis. Usually, there isn’t a need for extensive testing or lab work to get a diagnosis.
There are several potential ways your doctor may tell you to treat the sty. With the following treatment options, you should see the sty going away within a week or two.
There are household tools which allow you to get a better view of your eye and eyelids to determine if you may have a stye.
How to get rid of a stye:
Hypochlorous Acid Spray
Hypochlorous Acid is naturally made by the white blood cells of the body. Avenova is a spray made from pure Hypochlorous Acid. You spray it on a closed eye. Avenova helps kill bacterial buildup on the external skin. When used consistently, it is a powerful tool to help prevent styes from forming.
Don't Irritate It
Even though it may be tempting, don't try to pop it or squeeze the pus out. You may irritate the area, and you can cause trauma that increases redness. This may allow more bacteria to get in and make the stye worse.
If you’ve ever tried a warm washcloth, you’ll know that they quickly lose their heat. Avenova Moist Heat Eye Compress helps to hold heat for longer. Press it to your eyelid for 10 to 15 minutes at a time and repeat this process three to five times every day. This step can help open a clogged oil gland and encourage drainage.
Depending on the severity of the infection, your eye doctor can prescribe a round of broad-spectrum antibiotics to help you get rid of the bacteria causing the sty. There are also antibiotic creams and eye drops. No matter what you get, it’s best to follow the advice of your eye doctor. Additionally, it's important that you finish the entire course without stopping, even if your condition improves.
If your sty causes significant swelling on your eyelid to the point where you have trouble opening your eye, you may get a steroid injection. This cortisone (steroid) shot can help reduce the swelling in the affected area.
If the sty doesn't go away after a week or two and starts to impact your sight, you may need surgery to drain it. Your doctor usually performs this surgery under a local anesthetic in the office. If the sty returns, the ophthalmologist can biopsy it. A biopsy involves taking a tiny tissue piece to study it. This helps check for a more repetitive underlying cause.
Consider Visiting an Eye Doctor to Treat Your Stye
Knowing what styes are, why they appear, and how to treat them can help you manage this issue each time it appears without any damage to your eye. Looking after your eyes now can help you to keep your eyes healthy and see well in the future.
Dr. Plowman believes that no-one should suffer alone with dry eyes. Learn more about dry eyes and causes at dryeyedirectory.com.
Learn more about Hypochlorous Acid and Avenova