If you’ve asked yourself, “why do I keep getting styes?” or are unsure whether the bump near your eye is a stye at all, you know that it can be disconcerting to not have a clear answer. If you want to learn what styes are, what causes them, how to prevent them, and why they come back, keep reading. This article has everything you need to know.a
What Are Eyelid Styes?
Many compare the appearance of a stye to a pimple. However, if you see or feel a small, red lump on your eyelash follicle or tear gland, it could be a stye.
Styes are tender bumps on or around the eyelid can cause pain and discomfort. This is because a stye is technically an infection of the follicle or gland.
These uncomfortable lumps can occur on both the inside and outside of the eyelid, although it is more common to find them on the outside.
What Causes Styes?
When a follicle on your eyelid gets infected, it causes a stye to form. Infection can occur for several reasons, including scratching the area or getting bacteria in your gland or follicle. This can happen when you touch your face with unclean hands or put on old or shared makeup. It can also be caused by clogged pores due to sweat, makeup, chlorine, and more.
Those with the skin condition rosacea or the medical diagnosis of blepharitis have an increased likelihood of styes occurring. For blepharitis, it is due to eyelid inflammation that comes with the condition. For rosacea, it’s because ocular rosacea can lead to clogged glands. Other conditions that increase your risk are diabetes and seborrheic dermatitis.
How Do I Treat a Stye?
The #1 treatment of styes is a warm compress applied to the eye 2-3 times a day until it’s gone. It is important to use a wet warm compress—this is what will help the stye shrink and decrease in size. Home remedies can suggest a wide range of options, from warm hard-boiled eggs, to rice in a sock, and even warm tea bags. These improvised warm compresses generally make a better lunch than a treatment for a medical condition.
There are many new products on the market that make clearing up styes easier, with better results. One of those is EyeEco’s Stye Mask.
This uses a heating gel pack and a wet foam that sits in an eye patch so you have hands-free treatment.
Another hands-free treatment product is the Bruder Moist Heat Eye Compress. It comes in a single eye size which is great for treating individual styes.
It’s relatively easy to use, as it’s heated in a microwave.
Some patients will opt for a wet washcloth that is warmed in a microwave or a cup of hot water, which may require regularly reheating or dipping the cloth to keep the compress warm. If you choose this method, be very careful of burning the skin around the eye. One of the most important factors of hot compress treatment is continuous wet heat for a solid 20 minutes—and a washcloth tends to lose heat very quickly. If you do suspect a stye it is best to start treatment immediately.
What if My Stye Does Not Go Away?
If your stye is not going away, sometimes an oral antibiotic can help—especially if the stye is associated with a bacterial infection. In very large styes or ones that impede vision, surgical removal may be best. This should be done by an ophthalmologist; preferably one that specializes in lid surgeries.
How Can I Prevent Styes, and Why Do They Come Back?
Because styes are caused by bacteria, some of the habits in your routine may be the cause of returning styes. You can take steps to limit exposure to germs and therefore minimize the risk of styes forming.
One of the best things you can do to prevent styes is to wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face or eyes. This means that if you wear contacts or put on makeup, be sure to sanitize beforehand to avoid spreading any bacteria. It also means that if you get allergies and have the urge to rub or itch your eyes, be sure to have hand sanitizer or tissues on hand. Otherwise, you risk an infection that may cause a stye to form.
Another way to prevent these uncomfortable infections is to wash your face after you wear makeup. Leaving makeup on overnight can clog your pores, which can lead to the formation of a stye. There are several great products available as lid cleansers. The ones that are tree oil based are especially good, as tree oils naturally kill bacteria.
Two suggested products that are fantastic at controlling blepharitis and eyelid bacteria are EyeEco’s Tea Tree Eyelid and Facial Cleanser—which can be used in the shower or at a sink.
—and Blephadex Eyelid Wipes —which are pre-medicated and don’t need to be washed off.
If you are experiencing a stye that won’t go away and is causing you pain or affecting your vision, make sure to visit your optometrist to have it looked at.
When in Doubt, Trust the Professionals
If you are worried about a painful stye or have other eye care needs, connect quickly with our friendly team by scheduling an appointment at True Eye today.