A stye develops when small glands located along the edge of the upper or lower eyelid become inflamed or infected. Swelling occurs at the base of the eyelashes, followed by the appearance of a small red pimple on the rim of the eyelid. Styes form most commonly on the upper eyelid.
Styes are usually caused by a bacteria known as staphylococcus aureus, and are often associated with blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelid).
Symptoms normally improve within a few days and clear up after a week. The most common signs are:
- Swelling and redness
- Oily eyelid
- Wash your hands before touching your eyes or inserting your contact lenses. Be sure to clean and disinfect your contact lenses properly.
- Remove your eye make-up every day. Do not share your make-up with others.
- Try not to wear eye make-up or contact lenses when you have a stye.
- Change your compress or towel every time you apply one around the infected eye to avoid contaminating the other eye.
The recommended treatment involves applying warm moist compresses on the eye. Compresses should be applied on the eye for 10-15 minutes, 3-4 times a day. The stye should disappear on its own within a week.
When should I see a doctor?
- If it has been more than 1 week and the stye is still not healed, it may have to be drained or you may need an antibiotic.
- If the stye continues to grow and affects your vision.
- If the redness spreads to the entire eye or to the face (e.g., cheek).