Styes can be an uncomfortable and annoying yet common experience. Fortunately, most of them will go away on their own or with minimal treatment.
What Is a Stye?
A stye, also known as a hordeolum, is a small red, sometimes painful bump on the eyelid. It is often caused by bacterial staph (staphylococcal) infection and can occur at the base of the eyelash or within a small oil gland of the eyelid. A stye may fill with pus as it becomes infected, however, it is important to not squeeze, pop, or attempt to drain the stye.
Sometimes oil glands or hair follicles along your eyelash line can become clogged and lead to a buildup causing swelling and irritation. The result is a small bump along the eyelid that looks like a pimple.
Each person’s symptoms may vary. Signs of a possible stye may include:
- Discharge around the eyes
- Excessive tearing
- Feeling as though there is something in your eye
- Swelling, redness, pain, or tenderness
After symptoms develop, a small often painful pimple-like bump will emerge in the affected area and may cause the area to swell. Your vision should not be affected despite the swelling. If your vision becomes affected after the presence of a bump or due to swelling, seek medical attention.
In many cases, a stye will only last 3-7 days, but some may last up to 14 days. Most styes will also disappear on their own without medical intervention and at-home treatment. Still, if your stye is bothering you, here are some common at-home treatment options:
- Soak a towel in warm water and hold it to your eye for several minutes throughout the day
- To relieve pain or irritation, take over-the-counter pain medication
- Avoid wearing contacts or using eye makeup
Remember not to burst, attempt to pop, or remove an eyelash from the stye. Professional treatment for a stye includes antibiotic ointments and creams to reduce inflammation and remove the infection.
Though it can be difficult to prevent styes from occurring at times, there are ways to reduce your risk:
- Keep your eyelids and lashes clean.
- Remove your eye makeup before going to sleep every night.
- Wash your hands before touching the area around your eyes.
- Do not share eye makeup and remember to replace makeup and beauty products every six months or at their listed expiration date.
Though in most cases styes clear up on their own within several days, do not hesitate to contact our office for additional advice or treatment to help you heal faster. For more information on styes and our treatment options or to schedule an appointment, contact The Optometry Center for Vision Therapy today.