Styes Explained

Posted on Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 by Dr. Thomas Marvelli

A stye, also known as a hordeolum, is a small yet painful lump that develops outside or inside a person’s eyelid. Just like a pimple, it is an abscess that contains pus. It is usually caused by poor eye hygiene, which can lead to a staphylococcus infection.

This is a common problem that any eye specialist has encountered. At some point in our lives, we have all experienced this condition. Keep in mind that the stye should not be confused with the chalazion, which is a painless round bump found in the middle portion of an eyelid.

Different Types of Styes

There are two different types of styes. The first is the external stye. It is a small spot that develops next to a solitary eyelash. This type will feel tender and patients will observe a noticeable swelling. However, the external stye will resolve in a few days after it bursts.

A stye found on the underside of a lid can cause the same amount of pain and discomfort. The internal stye is quite uncomfortable as in most cases it can be felt by the eyeball itself. Since it cannot be seen, the structure may heal and leave a fluid-filled cyst or a node. This will usually require excision or draining by a skilled eye specialist.

What Can Cause Stye Formation?

As mentioned previously, this problem is caused by staphylococci. These bacteria live on the skin surface, also called the epithelium, with other types of bacteria. When we fail to clean our skin properly, the staphylococci engorge themselves with debris and dead skin cells, which leads to pimple formation.

Symptoms of Stye Formation

In some instances the area may feel itchy a day or two before. The discomfort begins when inflammation sets in. The abscess formation will cause a whitish bump to form, while the surrounding area is usually reddish in color.

Stye Prevention

If you suffer from recurrent styes, you may need to improve your eyelid hygiene regimen. Any eye specialist will tell you that it would be best to use warm water and no-tears baby shampoo to rid the eyelids of dirt and debris. Use gentle rubbing movements to prevent irritating this delicate area.

Stye Treatment

A stye will usually resolve on its own. You can use a warm compress to relieve the discomfort. However, if it interferes with your vision or is extremely uncomfortable, it would be best to see an eye specialist. The doctor may prescribe oral or topical antimicrobial solutions depending on the case.

Styes are uncomfortable and unsightly, so most people who suffer from this condition avoid public appearances. If you have recurrent styes and practice proper eye hygiene, make sure to see an eye specialist, because you may have an undiagnosed skin condition that needs to be treated.

At Marvel Eye Center, we strive to help our patients in any way we can. If you have a stye condition that does not resolve itself, contact us today and we’ll work with you to treat this common eye problem. Our office number is (817) 346-7333.

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