A stye is an acute infection of the secretory glands of the eyelids, which usually results from blocked glands within the eyelid. If bacteria infects the blocked gland, a stye can result causing inflammation, pain, and redness of the eye, and even redness of the surrounding eyelid and cheek tissue.
Almost everyone has stye-causing bacteria in their body. Therefore, anyone has the potential to develop a stye without outside contamination. Washing hands before touching the skin around your eye is one way to prevent styes.
Eye makeup sometimes causes styes, especially if you share makeup or makeup tools with others. It's best to not wear eye makeup until the stye is gone. In addition, be sure to clean or throw away eye makeup and brushes used to apply the makeup. And, do not share eye makeup with others. In addition, wearing too much eye makeup can sometimes cause a stye to develop.
Those who are susceptible to styes are often encouraged to carefully clean excess oil from the edges of the eyelids. Someone who has a stye should make deliberate efforts to prevent the bacteria from coming into contact with someone else's eye. Therefore, be sure to keep both eyes and hands clean and avoid sharing pillowcases, washcloths or towels with others.
A stye can be distinguished from a chalazion, which is an enlarged, blocked gland in the eyelid but heals within a few days. A chalazion is often similar to a stye for the first few days. After such time, it usually turns into a painless hard, round bump.
Although a warm compress to the affected area may speed the healing of a chalazion, the bump may linger for months. If the chalazion remains after several months, an eye doctor may wish to drain it or inject a steroid to facilitate healing.
Stye. Web. Drugs.com. Accessed 7 Oct. 2011
Eyelid bump. Web. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Accessed 7 Oct. 2011
Styes. Web. Allaboutvision.com. Accessed 7 Oct. 2011
Reviewed October 18, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith