What are styes?
A stye is an acute inflammation of the eyelid margin, in the form of a red, painful nodule, usually caused by a bacterial infection (Staphylococcus aureus) in the eyelid glands. It is a very common problem and is not usually serious, although it can be very annoying.
It should not be confused with a chalazion (link), a similar looking eyelid lesion that may be due to a stye that has become chronic and cystic or to other causes.
Styes appear as a small reddish pimple or lump in the area near the eyelashes, both on the outside and inside of the eyelids (being particularly uncomfortable in the latter case).
They appear suddenly, and the discomfort usually disappears after a few days. They can cause eyelid swelling, a sensation of grit in the eye, stinging, excessive tearing and even pain.
Although we can all get a stye at some point, they are especially common in children and teenagers. Moreover, some people are more likely to get them, such as if you have blepharitis (link) or skin diseases, such as acne rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis.
Poor eyelid hygiene can also lead to the appearance of this infection, as well as times of stress or hormonal changes.
As long as you have a stye, the Miranza specialists recommend that you do not wear contact lenses or put on eye make-up. You should not rub them, even if they sting, or try to squeeze the stye to drain it, as this will not make it better.
Styes usually disappear spontaneously after a week or two. Applying massage and local heat, using compresses soaked in hot water can help soften the lesion and drain the contents of the infected gland to speed up the process.
If the stye does not improve by applying this care or it gets bigger, we recommend you see an ophthalmologist so that they can examine it in their office. In some cases, the use of antibiotic ointments or oral medication for a few days may be prescribed. It may also be necessary to treat it with an injection of an anti-inflammatory drug or a simple surgical procedure to remove it.