A stye is a painful red lump that develops around the base of eyelash or under or inside the eyelid. It is caused by an infection due to clogging of the oil glands in the eyelid or infected hair follicle on the eyelash. Excess oil, debris and bacteria are probable clogging factors. Most of the infection is caused by the bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus.
A stye is usually harmless and home treatment is the first and may be the only option needed to treat it. You can begin the treatment process by using a clean warm washcloth or compress on the stye for 10 minutes. This should be done four to six times a day or as needed. This will relieve any painful symptoms and will facilitate the draining process by unblocking the clogs. A stye usually swells for approximately 3 days before rupturing and heals within a week. Any temptation to squeeze or to press the stye to speed up the drainage should be avoided. There are over-the-counter ointments, eye drops and solutions available to further alleviate the pain. It is highly recommended to speak to your local pharmacist before purchasing any over-the-counter product.
The next option for stye treatment is a visit to your doctor. The following conditions will necessitate the attention of your health professional:
If the stye continues to swell after 3 days of home treatment and continues after a week, a stubborn and relentless stye can develop into a chalzion: If it is becomes extremely painful and grows large quickly. If the stye drains pus. If the swelling and redness spreads inside and outside the eyelid. If the stye causes vision problems.
The doctor may need to lance or cut open the stye in order to allow it to drain. The doctor may also use local anesthesia or general anesthesia for children during the procedure. Steroid injections are useful for the inflammation caused the stye.
Contact lenses and eye makeup should not be used during the treatment process. There are easy and helpful tips that everyone can use to prevent future outbreaks. Do not share makeup or eye makeup tools with others. Eye makeup tools should be washed properly. Old and unsanitary makeup should be discarded. Sometimes using too much eye makeup can induce a stye to develop. There has also been links between increased stress and development of a stye, although the mechanics are not well understood yet. Avoid touching or rubbing the eye or the area surrounding the area.
Websites such as WebMD, MedicineNet and Yahoo Health has more information about styes.