Ever had what looks like a pimple growing on your upper or lower eyelid? What you probably experienced is actually called an eye stye (or sty), and they can actually be quite painful. However, while they often heal on their own, they are contagious but there are treatments that can help eliminate them.
Most eye styes don’t cause any interference with vision, but they can accompany other eye problems, notes AllAboutVision.com. Here are six common causes, symptoms, and things you can do about a stye…
1. It’s Usually a Bacterial Infection
AllAboutVision.com explains that styes are caused by staphylococcal bacteria, which is found in the nose and can easily be transferred to the eye through rubbing.
The source also explains that “pretty much everyone has this stye-causing bacteria in their body,” and it’s possible to develop a stye without being contaminated by an outside source. Just to be sure you don’t infect someone else, it’s best not to share pillowcases, washcloths or towels, it adds.
2. It Can Have Another Cause
MedBroadcast.com explains that while the problem (also called a hordeolum) is most commonly associated with a bacterial infection, it can also be caused by blockage of an eyelash follicle.
In any case, styes are generally characterized by glands around the edge of the eyelid swelling into a small pimple or boil, which can cause eye pain and pus. There are actually 2-types of styes, which we’ll get to next…
3. Inside and Out
The same source (MedBroadcast) explains that an “ordinary” stye that’s visible is called an external hordeolum, and “begins by infecting an eyelash at the root (the follicle), unleashing a process that results in swelling.” This type of style can also be caused by infection of the Moll and Zeis glands located near the follicles, adds the source.
Another more serious type of stye is called an internal hordeolum, which is not visible as it’s “buried in the central part of the eyelid” and can be more painful that its external sibling, explains the source. A doctor may have to drain this type of stye, it adds.
4. There are Risk Factors
There are certain things you may be doing each day that can increase the likelihood of developing a stye, explains EMedicineHealth.com. For example, you might not be properly removing eye makeup, or you’re using outdated or contaminated cosmetic products, which can lead to infection of the glands.
Other causes may include inflammatory diseases of the eyelid, such as blepharitis, meibomitis, and acne rosacea, adds the source. Seborrhea, which the source describes as excessive oily gland discharge, could also be a contributing factor. A stye can also be traced to stress and hormonal changes, it adds.
5. It Can Have Complications
Most styes are nothing to worry about, as annoying and unsightly as they might be. However, if there’s no improvement at all after 48-hours, or the redness and swelling spread to your cheek or other parts of your face, call your doctor.
EMedicineHealth.com adds that the most common complication from a stye is called a chalazion, which it says is a “form of scarring of the glands in the eyelid that may include the formation of cysts.” This chalazion can be big enough to affect the cornea and interfere with vision, it adds. There have only been a few reported cases of a stye infection spreading throughout the body, it assures.
6. There are Medical and Self-Care Treatments
Drugs.com says that while a stye can clear up on its own in 2 to 4-days, antibiotic medicine can be prescribed as an ointment to treat styes, and should be used as directed.
Meanwhile, you can apply warm compresses to the eye area for 15-minutes or so to help reduce swelling and pain, adds the source. You can also try to avoid touching your eye, and lay off the makeup until the infection clears up. Follow daily hygiene practices including face/eyelash washing daily, and use proper makeup remover in future to help prevent the problem from returning.