21 May What Is a Stye and How Do You Treat It?
A stye is a localized infection in the eyelid that causes a tender, red bump near the edge of the eyelid. The infection is caused by bacteria and it can occur at the base of an eyelash or within one of the small oil glands within the eyelid.
If a stye persists for more than a week or affects vision, medical attention should be sought.
Symptoms of a stye can include:
- A lump on the eyelid
- Swelling of the eyelid
- Crusting of the margins of the eyelids
- Burning sensation
- Droopiness of the eyelid
- Itching of the eye
- Blurry vision
- Discharge of mucus from the eye
- Light sensitivity
- Discomfort when blinking
- A feeling that there is an object in the eye
Is it really a stye?
A stye is a small, painful lump on or inside the eyelid or around the eye, the skin may be red, swollen and filled with yellow pus like a pimple. Your eye may be red and watery but your vision should not be affected
It’s probably not a stye if there is no lump. If your eye or eyelid is swollen, red and watery it’s more likely to be conjunctivitis (pink eye) or blepharitis (where the edges of the eyelids become red and swollen). If the lump is hard but not very painful – it’s more likely to be a chalazion (a small lump or cyst develops in your eyelid due to a blocked oil gland).
How long does a stye take to go away?
Styes are common and should clear up on their own within a week or two. They’re rarely a sign of anything serious but may be painful until they heal. After several days, most styes burst or go away on their own. But cleaning it will help bring the pus out. Then it will drain on its own. You can do a few things to get rid of it faster. If a stye persists for more than a week or affects vision, medical attention should be sought.
How can you treat a stye?
Never try to pop or squeeze a stye!
Allow the stye to rupture on its own. If after two weeks the stye has not gone away, ruptured or healed on its own your eye doctor may need to open and drain it.
Soak a clean washcloth in very warm water and put it over the stye (wash your hands first). Do this for 5 to 10 minutes several times a day. Also, keep your face and eyes very clean, and get rid of any crust you see around your eye.
Not only does the compress ease the discomfort, but it may also encourage the pus to drain away. Once the pus has drained away, symptoms normally improve rapidly.
Are styes contagious?
A stye can be contagious. You do not want the bacteria from your stye to come into contact with someone else’s eye. This might indeed cause them to develop a stye or other infection as well.
How can you prevent a stye?
- Do not use cosmetics after their use-by dates.
- Remove eye makeup before going to bed.
- Disinfect contact lenses before putting them in.
- Wash hands thoroughly before changing/inserting/removing contact lenses.
- Get sufficient sleep.
- Do not rub your eyes if you haven’t recently washed your hands.
If someone already has a stye you should not share washcloths, face towels or makeup to minimize cross infection.
Seek medical attention if the stye is very painful or swollen. Or if it doesn’t get better within a few weeks. If the stye affects your vision, get immediate medical attention. Click here if you would like to contact us.