Stye causes and treatments

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Also named as hordeolum, stye results from a gland infection at the edge of either the inside or outside eyelid. More specifically, it is an infection of the sebaceous glands of Zeis at the base of the eyelashes. Appearing on the outside of the eyelids, external styes can be seen as red bumps. In contrast, internal styes line the inside of the eyelid and similarly cause a red bump underneath the eyelid. In most cases, styes are acute and disappear within ten days without treatment.

Symptoms of a stye

Early signs of a stye include pain eye, eye redness, tenderness and swelling in the affected area. The swelling may be limited to the immediate area or spread to the entire eyelid. An advanced stye causes a small pimple. Other symptoms of a stye include watery eye, increased light sensitivity and a foreign body sensation.

Treatments for serious styes

A stye is caused by staphylococcal bacteria, which occur first in the nose and can be transmitted easily to the eye through nose and eye rubbing. For a stye at the outside edge of the eyelid, you should never “pop” it. Most of the outside sties will rupture on its own. You can speed up its self-healing process by applying a hot compress to the eyelid several times each day. This method can ease certain symptoms such as eye pain. In rare cases, styes require special treatment from a doctor, who will open and drain them. Antibiotic ointments may be prescribed to control a recurrent stye.

Stye differs from chalazion

Stye is often confused by a more bothersome eye problem called chalazion. In fact, a chalazion is an enlarged, blocked oil gland in the eyelid. Most chalazia are more serious than sties and may turn into hard, round bumps. Severe chalazia need steroid injection for healing. Compared with stye, chalazion is chronic and does not resolve by itself without external intervention.