You wake up one morning and when you look at the mirror, you start to worry when you see something that resembles a pimple in your eyelid.
It might be a sty/stye.
Styes (medical term: hordeolum) can be seen as small red bums and can grow inside or outside of the eyelids.
It happens when there is an infection of the sebaceous gland at the base of the eyelashes or an infection of the apocrine sweat glands.
The sweat glands and sebaceous glands are important because they are essential in secreting an oily material that prevents the water layer of tears from evaporating too quickly and thus help prevent dry eye syndrome.
When these glands are blocked, styes occur. Styes can also happen when the gland’s opening is blocked by a foreign substance. Although it is common among teenagers, it is also experienced by people of all ages.
It is usually caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. But other conditions like: use of cosmetics and/or other eye products that can irritate the eye; constant rubbing of the eyes (especially if your hands are dirty); and weakness of the immune system can also lead to having a sty/stye.
- Tenderness and swelling in the affected area
- Discomfort when blinking
- Sensitivity to light
- Lump and/or swelling of the eyelid
- Itching/ Itchy sensation
- Blurred vision
Don’t worry, styes are usually harmless and will go away after several days on their own as your body fights the infection, causing the relief of symptoms. But if it does not improve or gets worse within two weeks, seek medical help already. With adequate treatment, styes tend to heal quickly and without complications. Here are some of the home remedies you can do:
- You can apply warm compresses 4-6x a day for about 15 minutes at a time to help the drainage. Or you can gently wash and scrub your eyelid with tap water and non-irritating soap or shampoo. Keep your eyes closed while applying. REMEMBER: Keep your hands clean whenever you are touching the affected eye area.
- Never ever puncture the sty. Remember, normally, sty/styes will go away after several days—puncturing or squeezing it won’t help but rather, it might cause a more serious infection.
- If you think you are allergic to any/one of your eye make-up/cosmetics, discontinue using it. These might only aggravate and spread the infection.
- If you experience frequent styes, an eye doctor may prescribe you with an antibiotic treatment/ointment to prevent recurrence. Pain relievers are also given, such as acetaminophen and antibiotic eyedrops/ointments (doxycycline and over-the-counter ointments like polymyxin B sulfate (bacitracin zinc)).
- As an added precaution, if you are using contact lenses, discontinue it for the time being because the stye may cause an infection that can spread to your cornea.
- If any of these won’t help, or your condition gets worse, surgery is the last resort for stye treatment. Styes that do not respond to any type of therapies are usually surgically removed. It is performed under local anesthesia and done by an ophthalmologist.
HOW TO PREVENT STY/STYES:
- Practice better eye/ eyelid hygiene. You can use warm water with soap and/or mild shampoo for washing and removing germs and cellular debris. More importantly, avoid too much contact with your eyelids, especially with cosmetics/make-up, dirty hands and dirty towels to prevent any infection.
- Recurrent styes may be associated with a chronic facial skin problem called rosacea. Your doctor or dermatologist will be able to confirm the presence of rosacea and recommend effective medical therapy.
- An early warning of an impending sty/stye is pinpoint tenderness involving a few eyelashes. When you notice this first sign of infection, you can apply warm compresses to prevent further blockage of the eyelid glands.
- To prevent developing styes, it is recommended to never share cosmetics or cosmetic eye tools with other people. People should also keep their eye tools clean and generally practice proper eye hygiene. It is recommended to remove makeup every night before going to sleep and discard old or contaminated eye makeup. Additionally, one should try to avoid stress.
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