HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A STYE?

Dr. Jim Martin 09/10/2013

man_rubbing_eyes.jpgStyes are small abscesses that occur at the base of your eyelashes. They are fairly common and may occur on either eyelid. There are two types: internal and external styes. External styes affect the Glands of Zeis or Glands of Moll, both of which are located at the edge of the eyelid. Internal styes affect the Meibomian or tarsal glands. External styes are relatively minor but the internal ones can be severe.

If you find yourself getting styes regularly, you should seek medical attention from your eye care professional. Diabetes is known to result in frequent eyelid infections. Styes are different from chalazions, which are the result of the oil glands in the eyelids becoming inflamed.

What are the Symptoms of a Stye?

Some of the most common, recognizable of a style include:

  • Eyelid swelling
  • Pain in eyelid
  • Redness
  • Pus

The first sign of a stye is usually light-sensitivity, which is accompanied by excessive tear-production. You may also feel a gritty sensation as if there was a foreign body in your eye. The foreign body sensation will be followed by the swelling of the area at the base of the eyelid and pain in the area of the swelling. In many cases, pus will collect in the center of the stye. This gives it a similar appearance to an acne pimple. You may experience slightly blurred vision if pus from the stye starts leaking into your eye. In some cases, people with styes may also get fever.

Over several days, the stye will enlarge as the infected follicle fills up with pus; usually, this swelling will take several more days to subside. You should not squeeze the swelling as this could cause the infection to spread, resulting in the formation of more styes.

The infection can sometimes spread to other eyelashes, which may cause multiple styes. If this happens, or if the stye starts to drain pus into the eye, consult an eye doctor as soon as possible. Styes may also result in staph 
blepharitis  which is a chronic infection.

What Causes Styes?

You already have the bacteria in your body that causes styes, as in most cases they are caused by staphylococcal bacteria that have been transferred from the nose to the eye. Styes are contagious and you can infect other people if you:

  • Share towels, pillowcases, makeup or any other item that comes into contact with your eyes.
  • Have clogged glands. Just as pores can become clogged and result in acne pimples, eyelid glands can become clogged and result in styes.
  • Wear too much eye makeup. Wearing old eye makeup can also cause styes to form.
  • Have diabetes mellitus.
  • Have the skin condition rosacea.

What are your Treatment Options for a Stye?

The only risk posed by styes is the potential that the infection could spread elsewhere in the eye, or to other people. Stye infections that persist for longer than 48 hours may require medical treatment. If you seek medical care, an eye doctor will open and drain the stye. Do not try this method yourself! An eye doctor may also prescribe a topical antibiotic to help to ease the discomfort. If you are concerned you have a stye and the symptoms have not subsided, contact Broome Optical in Amarillo, Texas. The caring eye doctors have experience in treating different kinds of eye infections, including styes. Contact the eye care team at Broome Optical today.

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