Sty (stye eye)

Eyes | Ophthalmology | Sty (stye eye) (Disease)


A sty (stye) is a bump that forms on or in the eyelid as the result of a blocked gland. There are two distinct types of styes: hordeolum and chalazion. A hordeolum is a blockage of one of the sweat glands found in the skin of the lid and base of the eyelashes, or one of the small sebaceous glands found at the base of the eyelashes. A chalazion is a blockage of a meibomian gland, which is a special sebaceous gland unique to the eyelids. These glands form a single row in each lid, with the body of the gland located inside the eyelid, and the opening located at the rim of the lid, posterior to the lashes. Poorly functioning meibomian glands can lead to dry eye symptoms.

Causes and risk factors

Styes are usually caused by staphylococcal bacteria that is sometimes found on the surface of the skin. A chalazion is caused by the blockage of tiny eyelid gland ducts that normally transport an oily substance that helps lubricate the eye. This oily material enters the tear film to prevent tear evaporation. Trapped or misplaced oil stimulates the immune system to clean up the mess. Chalazia develop over weeks to months.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Stye treatment can be achieved by applying special ointments, but only prescribed by the doctor. Stye treatment with oral antibiotics may be necessary unless the infection spreads to the eyelid or eyebrow. To escape the discomfort, a person can apply warm compresses to the eyes for 5-10 minutes three times a day. If a large stye does not heal through outpatient treatment, the stye may need to be incised by a physician.

To prevent styes, it is important to wash the hands frequently with soap and water; not touch the eyes and face with unwashed hands; not use together with others towels, glasses or makeup; makeup should not be used after they expire; it is recommended to avoid swimming (certain bacteria and viruses can be spread in water); clothes, towels, pillowcases and anything else that might come into contact with an infected person should be washed and disinfected. ...

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