What is a stye?
Identifying and treating hordeolum
One of our patients from Brisbane came in to our Logan Central office last week with a bump on his eyelid. The bump was tender, red, and irritating. This patient was due for an eye exam as well, so we were able to tend to the irritating bump and get his eye exam completed in one consultation. The bump was diagnosed as a stye which is also known as an hordeolum.
A stye, also known as a sty, is swelling at the edge of an eyelid. The medical term for stye is hordeolum. An internal hordeolum occurs whereby the bump is a bacterial infection of a (meibomian) oil gland. With an external hordeolum the infection is centred on an eyelash follicule. Nearly everyone will get at least one stye once in their lifetime. Occasionally, a stye will make the entire eyelid swell. Styes should not affect vision; if you are experiencing vision problems please contact your optometrist immediately.
Styes are a bacterial infection generally caused by staphylococcal bacteria. This bacteria is transferred to the eye when people rub their eyes and can also be associated with blepharitis. Staphylococcal bacteria is found in the human body, including the nose.
Styes typically start with pain, redness, tenderness, or swelling, then advance to a bump at the edge of an eyelid. The stye may resemble a pimple. Other symptoms which may accompany a stye include swollen eyelids, swollen eyes, or watery eyes.
Diagnosis & Medical Treatment
Most styes are self-limiting and go away all by themselves. To speed the process apply a hot compress on the stye for 5-10 minutes several times daily. This can be followed by light massage of the area. Eventually the stye should rupture and drain itself. If your stye lasts over a month or is causing excessive discomfort, contact us. Very occasionally styes may need to be surgically drained, or we may prescribe an antibiotic eyedrop. Sometime other bumps around the eyelid are mistaken for styes, including chalazia, milia, and xanthelasma. If you have frequent styes, please inform your optometrist.
If you develop an increased temperature, marked pain, or the swelling is spreading to involve the entire eyelid or surrounding tissue then seek attention.
Sometimes styes are related to a lid
condition called blepharitis. Using lid
hygiene with a commercially available preparation such as "lid care" can
control blepharitis, reduce the bacterial load on the lid margin and reduce the
frequency of styes.