Eye Stye, Small Lumpy Spot on the Eyelids
A stye or “sty” is one of the most common infections in the world; most people at one point or another in their lives will suffer from a sty in the eye; they are not always harmless and although you can apply heat to calm it down, there are a lot of things you need to know and understand in order to cure it faster and effectively.
What is a Stye?
- They are small bums in the form of grains that usually present themselves near the base of the eyelashes but in some extreme cases they manifest themselves inside the eye, making it awfully painful. Styes are not contagious, and sometimes they go away without treatment, but on occasion, prescribed eye drops or ointments are needed to cure them.
- Styes are a common and very uncomfortable occurrence; they are usually painful at the touch and are sensitive to the light. In general they have a reddish colour and in some occasions they cause tearing and discharges.
- Styes usually disappear without causing many problems to the sufferer within 6 to 14 days after it has been detected, by in some cases they are a recurrent problem; in these cases, it is essential to identify the underlying cause of the infection (e.g.: make-up that are out of date or shared with someone with the bacteria)
Causes of Styes
- Bacterial: the bacteria enter the hair follicle of the eyelash, and causes inflammation of the sebaceous glands (gland found on the eyelids and responsible for regulating the fatty liquid that forms part of the tear film that covers the eye); the result is a sty!
- Inflammation of the eyelash follicle; this is where the individual eyelash grows out of.
- Underlying eye infection: low immune system could be the cause.
- Bad nutrition: a diet low in magnesium, zinc and iron may increase the risk of an eye infection.
- Bad hygiene: out-of-date make up (pencil eyeliner and mascaras) can cause the inflammation; as well as sharing it with someone infected.
How can I prevent styes
- Clean the edges of the eyelids using cotton pads and a mixture of water and baby shampoo
- If you wear glasses, clean them regularly.
- Children normally suffer from recurrent styes as they rub their eyes with dirty hands.
- Clean your make-up after every application with a gentle soap.
How to treat styes
Styes normally disappear without any treatment however there a few things you can do to ease the symptoms:
- Apply a warm compress for five to ten minutes. You should repeat this process 3 or 4 times a day until it clears up or releases the accumulated fat.
- Do not try to blow it, it is very painful and can spread the infection.
- Do not apply ice to reduce swelling (it will only improve when the stye releases the pus)
- Painkillers will ease the pain; make sure you take medication suitable for you and according to the recommended dose.
Visit your doctor or ophthalmologist
You should visit your GP if the pain is too intense; your doctor will normally prescribe you antibiotic eye-drops or refer you to an ophthalmologist if:
- The stye increases in size or the pain becomes unbearable
- The prescribed treatment does not clear the inflammation within a couple of weeks.
- The eyelids may be crusted, blistered or peeling.
- You present vision problems in the affected eye.