What is a Stye?
A stye is a condition that affects the eyelids. One or more of the oil ducts gets clogged and infected. This infection causes the area to get swollen and become red, resembling a large pimple. A stye is also medically known as a hordeolum. It is possible to have more than one (in one or both eyes). However, it doesn’t affect a person’s vision.
How does it Affect the Eye?
There are two types of styes; an external type where the swelling occurs on the outside of the eyelid and an internal type where the swelling occurs on the underside. Since the internal one touches your eye, it is more painful. A stye infection is caused by Staphylococcus bacteria, which is fairly common in the environment and on our skin. It usually develops when you rub your eyes with fingers contaminated by staph bacteria normally found on the body. Long term eye inflammation or blepharitis can also cause a stye to develop. However, it is a common condition and most people have had at least one or two of them in their lifetime.
What are the Symptoms of a Stye?
The obvious symptom is swelling and redness of the upper or lower eyelid. The redness may develop from a small bump and spread to wide swelling. It is painful to the touch and ruptures to discharge the pus.
What are the Possible Treatments?
It is important that you should never ‘pop’ a stye as that will cause further damage.
Styes can heal by themselves, but heal faster if applying constant heat with a heat pad or warm damp clean cloth several times per day. The stye may discharge after 3-4 days. Severe cases may need topical antibiotic ointment. An internal stye may need oral antibiotics to help with healing.
Since a stye can cross contaminate, it can easily be transferred by sharing pillow cases, towels, bed sheets, and clothing. In rare cases, the stye may cause a more serious infection to the tissues surrounding the eye.