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Home » What's New » What is a stye anyway?

What is a stye anyway?

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A stye (known by eye doctors as a hordeolum) is an infection of an oil gland which forms a pimple-like bump on the base of the eyelid or within the eyelid itself. Styes can be uncomfortable, causing swelling, pain, redness, discomfort and sometimes excessive tearing or blurred vision if it is large enough to distort the front surface of the eyes.   

What causes a stye?

The oil glands on the eyelid sometimes become blocked with dirt, dead skin or a buildup of oil and when this happens, bacteria can grow inside. Blockage is also commonly from eye cosmetics that block the orifices within the lid. This blockage causes the gland to become infected and inflamed, resulting in a stye. A stye can form on the inside or the outside of the eyelid and can cause swelling around the eye, sometimes affecting the entire eyelid. 

Treating a stye

Styes are treated with antibiotics, often in severe cases with a prescription for oral antibiotics, to reduce the bacteria responsible for the infection. Treatment for a stye is recommended otherwise there is a likelihood of recurrence. Applying a hot compress to the eye for 10-15 minutes a few times throughout the day will bring some relief and speed up the healing process.  

Similar to a pimple, the stye will likely rupture, drain and heal on its own. Occasionally a stye, especially one on the inside of the eye will not resolve itself and may require the assistance of an eye doctor for additional treatment. In such a case the stye is surgically opened and drained to reduce the swelling and cosmetic issues associated with the style. 

You should never pop a stye! This can cause the bacteria to spread and worsen the infection. If a stye is getting worse, more painful or irritated, contact your eye doctor for treatment. 

In cases where styes occur frequently, your eye doctor may decide to prescribe topical antibiotic ointment or a cleansing regimen to prevent recurrence. 

Chalazia: Another type of bump on the eyelid

Similar to a stye, a chalazion is a blocked oil gland on the eyelid that becomes enlarged. The main difference between a chalazion and stye is that the chalazion is non-infectious. Treatment involves lid hygiene, warm compresses and lid massage. If it is persistent, then surgical removal (incision and curettage) would be performed. 

 

Important Notice

At Ultimate Eyecare, Dr. Rasmussen and staff understand the sobriety of the situation we all are facing in our nation- and our world- with COVID-19. We recognize the need for social distancing but we also recognize the needs of our patients to maintain good eye health.

Please know that we are remaining open to service our patients during this difficult time. Rest assured that we are maintaining cleanliness and disinfecting all areas multiple times per hour and after every person through our doors.We are screening every patient to determine the urgency of their medical condition, to assess their current means of visual correction, and to assess any risks posed to other patients or our staff.

Please visit here for further details of what is considered urgent, essential, or routine.

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We are limiting staff on hand on a daily basis. Therefore, we are requiring appointments for picking up eyeglasses or contacts. Please call our office to ensure that someone is here to help you as we cannot accept 'drop-ins' at this time.

Remember, at Ultimate Eyecare, we really do CARE how you look and see.