Although a stye can look frightening and you may be worried about it because it develops on the eyelid, it is a common issue and many of us had it once in a lifetime. It can happen once or even continuously appear once in a while. It is as small as a pimple on your eyelid which can look red and swollen followed up with the redness of your eyeballs. It usually affects only one eye, but there are rare cases where it appeared on both sides. The important thing that you are surely wondering about is your vision – it does not affect your sight.
Types Of Stye
There are several types of stye, which include internal and external stye and upper stye and stye on the lower lash line. They all represent infections caused by staphylococcal bacteria which is often found on the skin, representing opportunistic bacteria which are good for us unless our immune system gets weaker and the bacteria start attacking it.
- External Stye/Hordeolum – It occurs on the exterior part of your eyelid where it can look yellow, tender and painful to touch. It looks like a pimple with a yellowish pus inside. The external stye can be due to an infection of the sebaceous (Zeis) gland which lubricates the lashes; an infection of the apocrine (Moll) gland which is a sweat gland which covers the eye and prevents the drying between blinking; and an infection of an hair follicle which happens when bacteria goes through eyelash follicle inside the hole and inflames the root.
- Internal Stye/Hordeolum – it happens on the internal side of your eyelid where it isn’t visible like the external one and it is represented in a swollen eyelid which is even more painful than the external stye.
People Often Confuse Stye With Chalazion
Chalazion represents a blockage of a gland which is located in the upper eyelid, close to the lash line. It is different from the stye in a way that this is not an infection. The gland is a sebaceous gland which has a body inside the lid with an opening at the lash line, posterior to the lashes. They secrete a sebaceous or oily fluid which helps with eye layering in order to prevent water evaporation from the eye surface which can lead to dry eyes. It helps with moisture between eye blinks. It happens due to the blockage of the sebaceous gland opening usually due to debris which blocks the duct and does not allow the waxy material to reach the surface of the eye. It looks similar, but it is a bump which is firmer and not painful like a stye.
What Are The Symptoms?
The first thing you should know about the stye appearance it’s that it is red, painful, swollen and it represents the local inflammation due to an infection. Here are some of the typical signs:
- Painful eyelid
- Pimple-like bump which can occur in upper or lower lashline
- Swollen eyelid
- Red eyeballs
- Burning sensations in the eye
- Itchy eyeballs
- Mucous secretion leaks and dries over the night leaving the crust
- A cyst-like pus fluid inside a pimple
- Pus drainage on the center of a pimple during swelling period, usually after 3 days after the appearance
- Crusty and firm material on the eyelash margins in the morning
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light or photophobia
- Watering of the eye
- Painful blinking.
A stye can subside without any treatment or with home remedies in a few days, usually from 7 to 10 days. There are some things that you could do and some things that you should not do in order to speed up the healing process.
- Warm Compresses. Use a washcloth and wet it with lukewarm water. Drain the excess until you’re left with a damp warm cloth. Apply it to your eye and keep it about 10 to 15 minutes until it gives you a pain relief. When the warm cloth is applied to the eyelid, a bump can start to drain a bit of pus on the outer surface of the pimple. This can look like a white or yellowish drainage which you can remove and clean the area. At the same time, this pimple drainage will help with pain reduction since it will reduce the pressure inside the bump. Repeat a few times a day.
- Tea Bag Application. You can use some chamomile or lemongrass tea bags which are warm and apply them to the eye like you would do with a warm cloth. It will help with swelling reduction and it will calm down the eye inflammation.
- Dandelion Tea. This will help with swelling if you drink it on a regular basis. You can also soak it in a cold water and place it over the inflamed
- Aloe Vera Gel. This is a natural ingredient which is useful for calming the skin and reducing the symptoms of the eye stye.
- Garlic Juice. I am sure you’ve heard a lot of things about the garlic benefits. Its antibacterial properties are useful here as well. You can use garlic mashed with olive oil which you can apply on the eyelash base with a cotton swab. It will reduce the swelling and help with pain relief.
- Clove Oil. It is considered one of the most beneficial home remedies for eye stye which can help with inflammation reduction and pain management.
- Acacia And Parsley Leaves. If you take a few acacia and parsley leaves and put it in a boiling hot water for about 10 minutes, it will release the active ingredients which can help with swelling reduction. Wait for it to cool, and apply with a cloth dipped into it.
- Antibacterial Creams And Eye Drops. If you try with over-the-counter eye drops and creams, it can speed up the healing process in stopping the bacteria from spreading and reproducing. If you opt to use them, check with your pharmacist or doctor to use the right choice for it.
When To Seek For Medical Attention
If the condition does not calm down in a reasonable time within a few weeks, you should visit a doctor. If you have extensive pain and vision problems, you should visit an ophthalmologist. If you suffer from recurrent stye and it’s getting worse every time, visit a doctor for a proper treatment. It can be other skin condition involved.
It normally disappears by itself, but sometimes it is recommended to seek for a medical attention. If your eye stye grows big and needs drainage, a surgery may be an option where the ophthalmologist will make an incision and drain the stye to relieve the pain and abscess accumulation. A doctor will give you a local anesthesia and drain the content in a few minutes. The area will heal in a few days. There are situations where a doctor will prescribe antibiotic ointments for anti-inflammatory and antibacterial needs in order to avoid any complications.
A stye usually resolves without any complications and it can subside by itself. There are rare occasions where a stye can get complicated and result in different conditions.
Chalazion (Meibomian Cyst)
If you suffer from an internal form of a stye, the debris from the infected region with dead skin cells can clog the duct from the meibomian cyst. This is the condition which is called chalazion and results in painless bump which can be red, swollen and firm. It man need some antibiotic therapy for the treatment such as erythromycin.
This is an infection which is caused by stye infection spreading. It affects the soft tissue which surrounds the eye and develops into a periorbital inflammation accompanied with swelling and redness. Your eye can swell around the orbit and become painful. It is also treated with antibiotics, for which you should consult your doctor for a prescription.
It can be prevented with a hygiene regime. You have to keep clean the area of your eyelid and remove excess germs and debris. You should also wash your hands regularly for the purpose of not transferring the bacteria from the dirt or from elsewhere such as your nose region. Don’t rub your eye and let the bacteria inside the eye surface. If you are working dusty chores, always wear safety glasses and protect your eyes. When you wear makeup, always remove it completely, since it can clog the pores or go inside the glands duct. If you use makeup such as mascara or eyeshadows, try to replace the old ones with the new ones, since they can grow bacteria if older than 6 months. It is recommended to wash the makeup brushes after each time of use, or at least once a week to prevent any bacteria development. If you notice that you have eye problems which are often a result of a bad hygiene, you can use baby shampoo or a mild oil-based makeup removal to wash your eyelids and prevent any cell leftovers. For that matter, you can dip a cotton swab into a soap solution and rub against the lashline, which will dissolve the dirt and makeup residues. Don’t use dirty and contaminated towels and wash the clothes regularly. When you wash the clothes, try to use higher temperature which kills the bacteria.
A Few Tips
- Don’t Ever Pop It! If a stye looks like a pimple filled with pus, don’t ever try to pop it. It will eventually drain on its own. If it’s an internal stye, it can be harder for it to drain, so those sometimes need medical help in a form of a surgical drainage.
- Stick With Antibiotic Treatment. If a doctor prescribes you an antibiotic like erythromycin, you have to stick with a therapy until you take all the quantity prescribed. Even if you think that the change has subsided, it is important to stick with a therapy because the bacteria are still in the body.
- Don’t Share Bed Sheets, Clothes And Towels. If you’ve been suffering from an eye infection, it can be due to bacteria transfer. This can happen if you share some of the objects such as towels and clothes. It is a potential source of infection if you don’t keep it clean and washed.