What is a Stye?

A stye, also known as a sty or hordeolum, manifests as a tender bump on either the upper or lower eyelid. This condition typically presents as painful and can feature an inward or outward bump, usually appearing at the eyelid's edge.

Styes are commonly encountered eye infections, primarily caused by a bacterial infection, often from the staphylococcus bacteria.

Causes of Styes

Styes result from an infection in an oil gland within the eyelid. These oil glands, located in the eyelid's skin, release oil through tiny openings near the eyelashes.

A blockage, potentially caused by dust, hinders oil release, leading to a small lump on the eyelid. When bacteria mix with this blockage, it typically results in inflammation and the development of pus, leading to pain and swelling around the eye. Common causes of such infections include:

  • Contaminating the eye through frequent scratching.
  • Incomplete removal of cosmetics.
  • Handling contact lenses with unclean hands.

Recognising Symptoms

In the initial stages, a stye may cause itchiness and mild pain in the eyelid, followed by swelling and more pronounced pain. Pressing on the lump typically exacerbates the discomfort.

A pus spot typically becomes noticeable within 4-5 days. After the pus is released, the lump often resolves on its own. However, if the pus isn't fully drained, the lump may persist and become inflamed periodically.

Treatment Approaches

If a stye is suspected, it's crucial to consult an ophthalmologist promptly. Early-stage treatment usually involves applying a hot compress for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times daily, to open the blocked oil gland. During this treatment, keep the eye closed.

The ophthalmologist may prescribe eye drops, ointments, or antibiotics in certain cases. If pus is present, the lump might need to be incised and drained, followed by antibiotics for 3-5 days or until the inflammation fully subsides. Incomplete drainage or healing can lead to recurrence.

Post-Removal Care

Post-pus removal, it's essential to cover the eye securely to prevent bleeding and swelling for 12-24 hours, or as directed by the doctor. Once the cover is removed, commence the prescribed medication.

For pain, consider taking 1-2 pain relief pills every 4-6 hours. If bruising or a blue mark appears at the incision site, apply a cold compress. Avoid scratching the eyes and gently clean the area around the eye with damp cotton the following day.