A stye (sometimes spelled sty) is an uncomfortable swelling right along your eyelid. This swelling, which might look like a pimple, forms when oil glands become blocked and inflamed.
Styes usually go away on their own. But, if you’re struggling with styes that keep coming back or discomfort that doesn’t seem to be going away, there are a few things you can do at home to relieve pain and inflammation.
Our optometrists help patients with styes all the time. In this article, the True Eye team shares everything you need to know about styes, their causes, how to treat them—and how to prevent styes from coming back.
Styes are tender, red bumps on or around the eyelid. They’re caused by a bacterial infection of the eyelash follicle or oil gland. The scientific name for a stye is hordeolum.
These uncomfortable lumps can occur on both the inside and outside of the eyelid, although it’s more common to find them on the outside.
Styes are often compared to pimples. However, they shouldn’t be popped like pimples, and you shouldn’t use acne cream or other pimple treatments on them. If you see (or feel) a small, red lump on your eyelash line or tear duct, it may likely be a stye.
A stye forms when an oil gland or follicle on your eyelid gets blocked and infected.
As to how people get styes, blocked oil glands and follicles can happen to just about anyone. However, they’re more common in people with certain underlying conditions. Those who touch their eyes often and those who don’t practice good eye hygiene.
There are a few common ways your oil glands or follicles might become blocked and infected with bacteria. These include:
Additionally, anyone with one of the following conditions may be at a higher risk of developing styes:
Your optometrist can diagnose eye conditions and help you manage them if you’re struggling with chronic swelling, discomfort, and redness.
Styes typically go away on their own after a day or two, but there are steps you can take in the meantime to relieve discomfort and prevent the infection from getting worse. If you suspect you have a stye, it’s best to start treatment immediately.
Use a doctor-approved eye mask. These days, there are many products on the market that make treating discomfort easier than ever before. Our optometrists at True Eye Experts recommend EyeEco’s Stye Mask or the Bruder Moist Heat Eye Compress. The EyeEco Stye Mask uses a heating gel pack and a wet foam that sits in an eye patch for hands-free treatment.
Another hands-free option is the Bruder Moist Heat Eye Compress. It comes in both single-eye and double-eye sizes (shown here) for treating swelling on one or both eyelids.
A special note: Some common home remedies involve improvising a compress using warm hard-boiled eggs, rice in a sock, or even warm tea bags. However, those ineffective remedies generally make for a better lunch than a treatment for a medical condition. Stick to using a clean cloth or doctor-approved eye mask.
While a warm compress can help with minor discomfort, you may need to see a doctor for treatment if your stye doesn’t fade after about 48 hours. Your optometrist might recommend:
First, look at the habits in your daily routine to look for potential sources of infection-causing bacteria. You can take steps to limit your exposure to germs and reduce the risk of styes.
Here are some tips our optometrists recommend:
Additionally, we recommend using a special eyelid cleanser to kill bacteria and gently unclog pores each night. Our favorites are EyeEco’s Tea Tree Eyelid and Facial Cleanser and Blephadex Eyelid Wipes.
EyeEco’s Tea Tree Eyelid and Facial Cleanser can be used in the shower or at a sink. It contains tea tree oil, which is a natural bacteria killer. This cleanser can also be used to help treat blepharitis.
These easy-to-use Blephadex Eyelid Wipes are pre-medicated and don’t need to be washed off. They also contain tea tree oil to fight bacteria.
Finally, you should always talk to an optometrist if you’re experiencing swelling that won’t go away and is causing pain or affecting your vision. Patients in Central West Florida can visit a True Eye Experts clinic to see a doctor about any eye concern.
Eye doctors deal with styes every day, and they can help you treat an infection and find relief from discomfort and swelling. You should talk to a doctor if your stye:
Styes don’t typically cause long-term issues, but the infection may spread if left untreated for too long.
From help with painful styes to checkups, exams, and other eye care needs, connect with our friendly team of optometrists and staff members at True Eye Experts! Schedule an appointment at one of our offices today.
Our mission at True Eye Experts is simple — provide the best possible care to our patients. We make sure we’re doing this a few different ways. Our V-Eye-P Exam is one of the most comprehensive eye exams in the industry. We use state-of-the-art medical technology to screen, diagnose, and treat more conditions than most other providers in the area. We have an extensive collection of designer eyewear that can complement any patient’s face, style, and budget, and our advanced contact lens fitting process can help even “hard-to-fit” patients wear contacts comfortably. Book an appointment online at one of our True Eye Experts locations, conveniently located throughout Central Florida. Have questions or prefer to book over the phone? Give us a call today.
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