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A stye is a small, red, painful and swollen lump that grows at the base of the eyelid or under the eyelid.
Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stye
A style may also be accompanied by yellow pus that looks like a pimple. Stye is rarely a sign of anything serious, it should not affect your eye vision but may be painful until it heals. There are also many other eye conditions that may look similar to a stye but are not.
A style is an infection of the eyelid. It usually occurs for no obvious reason, although if your eyelids are itchy or rubbed a lot this may make a stye more likely. The usual bacterium that causes the infection is called Staphylococcus aureus. S.aureus is a common organism found on the surface of healthy skin, which is usually harmless. However, when it gets into the skin it can cause infection.
Individuals who experience blepharitis are more prone to develop stye. Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelids in which they become red, irritated and itchy with dandruff-like crusts that form on the eyelashes. As a result the eyelids may stick together.
It is probably not a stye if
There's no lump – if your eye or eyelid is swollen, red and watery it's more likely to be conjunctivitis or blepharitis.
The lump is hard but not very painful – it's more likely to be a chalazion. A chalazion is a swollen bump on the eyelid, which may make your vision blurry. It happens when the eyelid’s oil gland clogs up. It may start as a stye. A chalazion rarely causes swelling of the entire eyelid. On the other hand, a stye can be very painful and sometimes the entire eyelid may appear swollen.
Stye usually burst within 3-4 days and resolve themselves after the pus is drained away. Nonetheless, the following approach may reduce the discomfort of having a stye:
Hot compress: Dip a clean towel in warm water (but not too hot that it scalds your skin) and squeeze dry, then gently press it against the closed eye. You may do this for 5 to 10 minutes for 3 to 4 times a day. Eventually the stye will 'pop' and drain - but do not be tempted to try to pop it yourself. You may make things worse by injuring the delicate eyelid, or by spreading infection deeper into the tissues.
Let a healthcare professional carry out an incision and drainage procedure. Do not attempt this on your own.
Refrain from wearing any eye makeup or contact lens until the stye is resolved.
You may take paracetamol or other painkillers to temporarily relieve the pain.
Although a stye is caused by a type of bacteria, there is usually no need for antibiotics treatment your healthcare professional deems it necessary,
As a stye is infectious and can be passed to other people, it is important to always wash your hand after touching the stye and avoid sharing any face towel with another person.
You should seek medical advice if you experience the following:
Eyelid is extremely swollen and red
Extremely painful or even impossible to open your eye
Eyeball is pushed forwards so that it bulges, and you may be very sensitive to the light
Experience high fever alongside with any of those those symptoms
Cover image credit: https://www.healthline.com/health/eye-health/are-styes-contagious
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