What is a Stye?

Have you experienced chronic crusting of the eyelashes upon awakening? Have you noticed itching and burning of the eyelids as well as ocular dryness and irritation? You may be suffering from Blepharitis. A possible result of chronic Blepharitis is the development of an infected and clogged oil gland in the eyelids referred to as a Stye.

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A Stye, otherwise known as a Hordeolum, is an acute focal infection involving the glands of Zeis (oil glands) in the eyelids. The infection is usually Staphylococcal in origin.

They present with a painful, warm, swollen, red lump on the eyelid. They will often undergo spontaneous rupture and drainage. If you have Blepharitis or Ocular Rosacea, you are more at risk of developing one.

How is it Treated?

Usually they improve on their own in one to two weeks. Try hot compresses for one to two weeks in order to facilitate the drainage of the clogged gland.

Hot compresses can effectively be achieved by using a boiled egg wrapped by a washcloth. Of course the washcloth should be thick enough so as to not scald you but thin enough to provide continuous heat to the lesion for about 10-15 minutes twice per day.

Use topical antibiotics like bacitracin or polysporin ointment on the lump. Clean your eyelid margins, especially if you notice flakes and crusting on your lashes, with over-the-counter pre-moistened, antiseptic eyelid cleansing pads.

By using heat, you are attempting to melt the contents of the lump and prevent them from hardening and forming a Chalazion. Follow the heat compress with digital massage (in order to rupture and express the nodule).

Suppose yours does not improve and the infection actually looks more serious. You may have Preseptal Cellulitis.


What are Instructions After Removal?

Incision and curettage requires using antibiotic ointment in the eye and bandaging the eye for 24 hours after the procedure. You will be advised to take oral antibiotic tablets twice a day for five days and one tablet of ibuprofen 400 mg three times a day for 3 days. Antibiotic eye drops may be prescribed for 15 days. Since surgery requires bandaging for a day, resulting in loss of hours at work, and since it requires oral antibiotics for 5 days, it is a relatively more expensive option.

What other recommendations can you follow to prevent Styes?

If you do suffer from chronic Blepharitis, make sure that you manage it appropriately in order to prevent Styes. Using hot compresses and lid cleansing consistently will help keep your glands unclogged.

If you do develop a bump on your eyelid, make sure to visit your eye care provider to get it checked. You will want to start treatment with hot compresses as described above in order to drain the clogged gland. Digital massage may help express the contents of the gland, but make sure not to massage too vigorously as you can make matters worse.

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