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Styes, also known as hordeolums, are fairly common – they are small infections that occur in the skin of the eyelid.  This blog post will examine the causes and effects of styes, as well as some possible treatments that may help you to get rid of them.

How do Styes Form?

The skin of the eyelids is incredibly complex; there are hair follicles from which eyelashes emerge, sebaceous glands attached to the follicles that produce oils, apocrine (sweat) glands that empty into the eyelash follicles, and meibomian glands that secrete the film that covers, lubricates, and protects the eyes.  Any of these glands may get an infection with the common skin bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus. When this happens, a stye can form. With a stye, the eyelid swells, reddens, and becomes painful.  Additional complications can occur. For instance, as the stye grows in size, it may cause the eye to continually water or produce a discharge. You may also feel like there is something in your eye. While most styes do not interrupt the eye’s ability to see, some can progress to cause itchiness and blurred vision.

How Can I get Rid of my Stye?

Many styes will resolve on their own within a week or so, but there are some things you can try at home to help your body get rid of it.  You can use a warm compress several times a day; this will help with the pain and may also encourage the stye to drain. Regular cleansing of the eyelids (with an eye-safe gentle soap and maintaining your eyes closed) will also help remove crusted drainage, dead skin, and bacteria. Additionally, you should avoid the use of eye makeup while you have a stye.

Once styes drain, the pain and redness usually resolve as well.  However, it is important that you do not squeeze or lance the stye yourself, as this can worsen the symptoms and damage the surrounding tissue.

What if I can’t get Rid of my Stye at Home?

While most styes are simply irritating and eventually resolve on their own, some persist and cause more than minor irritation. If your stye persists for longer than a week or two and is not improving, it may be time to seek medical treatment. Though complications of styes are not common, a stye can worsen and eventually become a chalazion (cyst in the eyelid) or even a larger cellulitis (infection of the skin of the entire eyelid).  These complications can cause disfiguration or irritation to the cornea and often require medical intervention.

If you are unable to resolve your stye at home with warm compresses and feel ready for more aggressive treatment, Hudson Face and Eye can help. Our Same Day Stye service has helped many patients experience urgently needed relief. Depending on your stye, you may need antibiotic treatment, incision and drainage, surgical removal, or injection of anti-inflammatory medications.

If you need immediate assistance with your stye, contact us at 347.788.1841 to schedule your Same Day Stye treatment.


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