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Have A Stye? Tips To Treat It At Home

By Essilor News

You wake up one morning and find a tiny, red, painful bump on the edge of your eyelid. What is it and how did it get there? Chances are that you've developed a stye. A stye, or hordeolum in medical terms, is like a pimple, caused by a blocked oil duct, dead skin cells and bacteria, that has been trapped under the skin.

Styes can appear next to an eyelash or underneath the lid. A stye on the outside of the eyelid usually forms into a pimple shape and is often red and feels hard to the touch. The top of the stye may appear whitish or yellowish. Styes under the eyelid also form bumps, but they are not usually as obvious as external ones.

Styes can appear without any reason, but sometimes they are caused by eye make-up, which can block the skin. They can also be caused by stress or hormonal changes. People with rosacea or inflammatory diseases of the eyelid, such as blepharitis ormeibomitis, seem to get more styes than other people.

Styes generally go away on their own. If you have one that is painful or annoying, you might want try using warm compresses. Wet a clean cloth with warm (not hot) water. Place the cloth over your eye for about 10 minutes. You can repeat this a few times a day.

Other tips include cleaning your eyelid gently with a baby shampoo or non-irritating soap and wearing glasses instead of contact lenses while the stye heals. Keep in mind that no matter how tempting it may be, it's important not to pick at the stye or to squeeze it to see if pus comes out. This will not make it heal or go away any faster, and you could make things worse by introducing bacteria, which can cause an infection.

Styes usually go away after a week or so. You should see a doctor if you have:

  • Increased redness in the area
  • Increased pain
  • Discharge or blood from the stye
  • Swelling or redness beyond the stye
  • Pain in your eye (not just the eyelid)
  • Changes in your vision
  • Fever

You may need antibiotic ointment or drops to help clear it up. Also, your doctor may want to remove some of the pus from inside. Although it isn't common, if the infection has spread, it may be necessary to take oral antibiotics - in a pill form.

If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, either in an ointment, drops, or pill form, it is vital that you finish the prescription, even if it looks like the infection is gone. There still may be bacteria present, just not visible. If you stop taking the antibiotics too soon, the infection may return and be more difficult to treat the second time.

While most styes can't be prevented, you can reduce the chances of a stye developing by remembering to wash your hands thoroughly before touching the skin around your eye. If you are susceptible to styes, it may help to carefully clean off excess oils from the edges of your lids.