If you notice a localized swollen area in the corner of your eye or on the edge of your eyelid, you are likely dealing with a stye. Roughly, it can be described as a reddish pimple. Usually, it hurts when you touch it. Annoying and aesthetically displeasing, styes cause both physical and psychological discomfort. The condition is known as a bacterial infection that occurs as a result of the blockage and inflammation of an oil-producing gland within the skin of one’s eyelid.
Widespread varieties of styes
Depending on the location, specialists distinguish two kinds of styes: internal and external. As the name suggests, the internal ones are located on the inner side of one’s eyelid. It can be an upper or lower lid, as they are both susceptible to getting styes. A reddish sensitive bump usually forms as a result of an infection within the glands that produce oil and moisturizes the lids.
Speaking of the external styes, they appear on the visible side of one’s eyelid as a result of an infected eyelash follicle.
Styes are similar to meibomian cysts, which also form on eyelids due to the gland’s blockage. The main difference between these two formations is that styes are usually painful, and meibomian cysts, or chalazions, don’t cause any particular physical discomfort.
Identifying the risk factors
Styes are some of the most widespread eye infections – almost every person on Earth gets this kind of swelling at least once in their lifetime. They equally occur in both men and women of all races. According to medical practitioners across the globe, children are less susceptible to developing a stye since the oil produced by their glands is not as thick as the oil of an adult.
Speaking of risk groups, individuals with dandruff, cholesterol disbalance, diabetes, and skin diseases like rashes, itchiness, and inflammations are more likely to develop a bacterial infection. Hormonal changes should be taken into account as well. Typically, it takes a couple of weeks for a stye to disappear just like that, without any particular treatment. If the condition persists, it’s advised to make an appointment with your doctor and seek professional help.
Typical symptoms and warning signs that shouldn’t be ignored
A person is most likely developing an eyelid stye if they observe the following symptoms:
- An eyelid swells. Usually, this kind of swelling is localized, but sometimes it can spread along the whole edge of an eyelid.
- It hurts to touch the bump.
- An affected area and skin around it turn red.
- A crust might form on the margins of an eyelid.
- The skin around the eyes itches. There are burning sensations in the eyes.
- Eyes become more sensitive to light.
One can also experience tearing in the eye, blurred vision, difficulties when blinking, and a discharge of mucous.
Possible ways of contracting an eyelid stye
Generally speaking, styes are not considered contagious. That said, you should keep in mind that Staphylococcus bacteria can be carried from one person to another. Usually, this kind of bacteria is found in the nasal cavity and, in the majority of cases, doesn’t represent any threat. However, if the skin of the nose area gets damaged, the bacteria can penetrate inside the tissues and cause infection. In this case, if you rub your nose and then touch your child’s eyes, they may contract an eyelid stye.
That’s why it’s strongly advised to wash your hands prior to touching the infected areas and after that. You should also wash and disinfect pillow cases, towels, and other things to prevent the disease from spreading. You should not touch the stye without a need. If the treatment includes warm compresses, apply them carefully and gently.
As mentioned above, though, in most cases, styes are not contagious. It’s not necessary to take a sick leave from work, college, or university. You’re not a threat to people around you, and your physical health is not going to be seriously affected if you have a stye on your eyelid.
Treatment: ways to get rid of your annoying stye
To put it in simple terms, if you do absolutely nothing, your eyelid stye will likely disappear within a week or two. Usually, it’s a self-limiting condition that doesn’t require particular treatment. However, If you wish to speed up recovery and stop the infection from spreading, it’s advised to apply Erythromycin ophthalmic ointment first thing in the morning and before bedtime. You can easily obtain this ointment online through Canadian pharmacy, a certified drugstore. In some cases, health practitioners recommend the use of topical antibiotics, but it’s not advised to go for this treatment without a doctor’s prescription. Warm compresses have proved to be very beneficial when treating styes on eyelids. They should be applied for a quarter of an hour two to four times a day. It can be followed by a gentle massage, but make sure not to press on the bump. If a stye is too big, the treatment may include a surgical cut and drainage, but in this case, a referral to a medical practitioner is a must.
Generally speaking, you should avoid self-treatment and visit a doctor if:
- The lids of your eyes are excessively swollen.
- Painful sensations get stronger after the initial two-three days.
- You can observe blood or another liquid collecting inside the swelling and leaking from it.
- Your vision gets blurry.
- There are blisters within the area of your eyelids.
- Styes keep forming one after another over a short period of time.
Preventive measures: how to avoid eyelid styes to start with?
The most effective way to avoid a stye is to maintain good face hygiene. You should frequently wash your hands throughout the day, especially if you have a habit of rubbing your eyes, scratching your nose, and so on.
At bedtime, it’s a must to wipe away the remaining makeup. Makeup removal wipes or an effective cleanser is usually a good solution. It’s not advised to use someone else’s eye makeup – don’t lend or borrow eye shadows, mascara, concealers, foundation primers, brushes, or sponges.
If you’re using contact lenses to improve your eyesight, make sure to wash your hands before taking them off. Remove the dirt off your hands with clean running water and wipe them thoroughly. They should be regularly wiped and disinfected with a special cleanser. Wash your face at least twice a day – in the morning and before going to bed. The towels for wiping your face should be fresh and clean.
In general, eyelid styes are easily curable and harmless. Moreover, it’s possible to avoid them if precautions are taken.