Eyelid Styes Treatment and Causes
Eyelid styes are ones of the most common infections of the eye. They are usually harmless and their symptoms tend to disappear within a couple of weeks. They look like a red bump and in case pus has built up inside the stye, they resemble a pimple. A stye can occur on both the inside and outside of any of the lids. The most common cause of styes is the infection of the glands of Zeis condition that is called external hordeolum. The infection is acute unlike in the case of chalazia which tend to be chronic.
The symptoms of a stye include redness and tenderness of the eyelid and eye, sometimes discharge and often pain. If the stye grows, the patient’s vision can be affected as the lesions put pressure on the cornea. Pain becomes more intense if the pus ruptures. Pus can also be drain before it ruptures in order to prevent the pain that it causes and also the infection of the surrounding tissue. The stye inside the eyelid is the one that usually looks like a bump and the stye under eyelid looks more like a nodule. Styes do not normally lead to complications but in rare cases they can evolve to chalazia. It is more common that a stye inside eyelid evolves to chalazia than a stye under eyelid.
Styes can be caused by either infection with bacteria from which the most common is Streptococcus aureus, or other conditions such as blepharitis or inappropriate eye hygiene. Especially those who wear contact lenses are at risk to develop styes or any other infection of the eye and they are recommended to pay more attention on their hygiene. Women especially are advised to always remove their makeup before going to sleep. Makeup left overnight can cause both styes or other infections and can complicate an already existing disorder. Therefore, the best way to prevent styes is keeping a good hygiene of the eye.
The first step in upper eyelid stye treatment is easing the symptoms at one’s home by gently rubbing the affected eye with a warm water compress for approximately 10 minutes, 4 times a day. Styes usually disappear in up to two weeks even if special treatment was not given. If they do not look like curing and however they seem to get worse a medical advice should be sought. A stye is diagnosed based on the patient’s medical history and after the examination of the eye which is performed by a specialist. In more serious cases, upper eyelid stye treatment may consist in antibiotic ointments or eye drops and sometimes even drugs. The antibiotics are used to kill the infection and the most commonly used are erythromycin or amoxicillin.
Eyelid styes are often mistaken as chalazia. Both conditions tend to look the same but the main difference is that styes are acute and the symptoms disappear within few days while chalazia are a chronic disorder that requires medical attention. Whereas styes are very painful, chalazia are characterized by a painless nodule that looks quite the same as a stye bump.
In the end, eyelid styes are usually not harmful but their symptoms are uncomfortable.