Understanding Styes


A style, also known as a hordeolum, is a bump resembling a pimple on the outside or inside of the eyelid. Styles develop when an oil gland on the edge of the eyelid becomes infectied with staphylococcal bacteria. This bacteria is usually transferred to the eye when you rub your nose and then touch your eye.

What are the symptoms of a stye?

The first symptoms that you notice when a stye is developing are tenderness, swelling, pain, and redness. Soon, the visible bump forms. A stye can be accompanied by light sensitivity and can also cause watering of the eye. Fortunately, styes typically do not affect vision capabilities.

Are styes contagious?

Technically, styes are contagious. Most individuals already have the staphylococcal bacteria located in their body. However, you do not want the bacteria to come into contact with another person’s eye directly. You can avoid this by not sharing things like bed sheets and washcloths, and by washing your hands carefully if you touch your eye.

How are styes treated?

A stye will typically go away on its own in a few days. It will eventually rupture and then drain. It is very important not to pop the stye like you would a pimple, even if it is tempting. You should still seek your eye doctor’s care, because there are other things that can be mistaken for styes, such as chalazions (blocked oil glands).

You can use hot compresses for 10-15 minutes at a time a few times a day to relieve pain until the stye is gone. Try wetting a washcloth with warm water for a simple hot compress.

If the stye does not heal on its own, your eye doctor may need to drain it manually. If you are prone to getting styes frequently, your doctor might prescribe an antibiotic or special eyelid cleaning pads to use daily.



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