Styes on your eyes

What are styes?

Styes or hordeolum are bumps in or along the eyelid margin. Most people experience tenderness, pain and swelling of the eyelid. Sometimes, we can get a lump on our eye which looks like a stye but is known as a chalazion. They are usually larger and may not hurt.

What is the cause?

Styes are caused by a bacterial infection. The bacteria grow in the root of an eyelash and causes an abscess to form on the eyelid margin known as an external hordeolum.

If the stye occurs on the inside of the eyelid, it is called an internal hordeolum. Chalazia are formed when an oil gland in the eyelid becomes blocked. If a stye doesn’t heal, it can turn into a chalazion.

Both styes and chalazia can be associated with blepharitis which is a common condition that causes inflammation of our eyelids.

How are they diagnosed?

It is very important to see your optometrist if you feel you are about to get a stye or have already developed one as they have a risk of spreading throughout the eyelid. A close examination of the eyelid can help diagnose a stye from a chalazion.

What is the treatment?

Usually, a conservative therapy at home can get rid of most styes.

  • Use a warm compress 3-4 times per day for 10 minutes. Make sure you are applying consistent heat to the area, so it is best to have a compress specifically made for the eyes. This will help drain the stye and allow for faster healing.
  • After doing the warm compress, use a lid hygiene product such as lid wipes to clean the eyelids.
  • Do not try to squeeze or drain the stye as the infection can spread. It is best to let it open on its own.
  • Avoid wearing makeup or contact lenses until the area is healed.

If the stye is not resolving with home therapy, you may need a prescription for antibiotic ointment or eyedrops. Consult with your optometrist if this is the case.

How to prevent styes from occurring?

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes since this will cause irritation and let bacteria into the eyelids.
  • Make sure to wash your hands before touching your eyes.
  • Replace eye makeup every 6 months as bacteria can grow in the product and make you prone to developing styes.
  • Use eyelid cleansing products regularly to make sure you are removing dust and air pollution trapped in the eyelashes.

Call or drop by our clinic to see the range of eyelid products we carry to help reduce your risk of developing styes!