Styes are painful red bumps on the exterior of interior of the eyelid. They can cause an itching, burning sensation, and can even blur your vision if the stye gets large enough. There are 6 important points (all coincidentally beginning with the letter “P”) that you need to remember in treating this condition.
Panic – Don’t! Many people tend to “freak-out” if they have never had a stye before. The fact that it is so painful and next to the eye causes people to panic and worry about losing their vision. In fact, styes are a very common condition and most can be easily treated.
Pop – Do not pop a stye. It is not a pimple. The fact that it looks and feels like a pimple, means that many people, especially children or teenagers will try to pop it. The stye is filled with pus and water and popping it will cause the germs to spread and can lead to additional eye infections.
Pure – If you have a stye it is important to keep impurities away from your eye and the stye. Do not use makeup near the area. Make sure all your washcloths, pillowcases, towels and anything else that comes near your eye is clean and that you do not share these with anyone. You have to worry about exasperating the infection. You also want to make sure that you do not infect anyone else. Try to avoid rubbing your eye and make sure to always keep your hands clean.
Prognosis – Usually styes go away on their own within 4-10 days. Of course, that seems like an eternity if you have a stye, and later in this article we will discuss treatments that can help. Some styes do develop into a chalazion, which is a hard bump that does not go away on its own. A chalazion is usually larger than a stye. It does not have the pain and redness of a stye, but does require a doctor to remove it.
Prevention – Styes are caused by a blockage of the oil gland at the base of an eyelash. Teenage get styes more often than other age groups. Some people are more susceptible that others, and those who get a stye once, often have a recurrence. While there is no way to guarantee you will not get a recurrence, there are some very simple steps that significantly reduce the chance of replete infections. These include:
- Getting enough sleep
- Drinking enough water
- Proper Hygiene
- Not rubbing your eyes. (This is a very hard habit to break since it is usually done unconsciously)
Proper Treatment – One you have a stye, there are a number of potential treatments, as follows:
- Putting a warm clean washcloth against the stye several times a day. This helps to break up the the solidified oils and let the stye drain naturally. This will also remove any crusty discharge that is blocking the stye. Remember do not rub the eye of the stye.
- Putting a wet teabag against the stye is an old-time remedy still used by some. However; we do not recommend this since tea is very acidic and you certainly do not want tea acid going into your eye. You are better off with just the warm wet washcloth.
- If the discharge from the stye is very crusted and does not come off with just the warm washcloth, you can gently clean the area with a mild soap or baby shampoo.
Over the Counter Medications as part of Proper Treatment
There are a large number of over the counter medications for styes in a wide range of prices. Below we will give our review of a few of them. What is most important is to find a medication that will allow the stye to heal itself the fastest. Do not make the mistake of believing that more expensive is better.
- Stye Lubricant – This is available for about $10.99. This product helps relieve irritation and itching. That is important since you must refrain from scratching the stye and spreading the infection.
- Polysporin, which is advertised as a product for both Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) and Styes. This costs $59.99 and is an example, of a product where more expensive does not mean better. Pink Eye is an entirely different problem than a stye. Pick Eye (Conjunctivitis) is very contagious and is a disease i the eye itself. It does not get treated the same way as a stye. If you or your children have conjunctivitis you should immediately see a doctor and get a prescription.
- Warm compresses are available for about $9.99. These can help the stye in the same way as the warm wet washcloth. It might be more convenient than the washcloth. However; the “reusable” aspect is a concern, considering that reinfection is an issue.
- Eye Stye & Chalazion treatment. As noted earlier, if a stye turns into a Chalazion it is time to see a doctor.
- Similasan is used for pain relief. This not only gives you comfort but reduces the chance of you scratching.
- Tylenol, sprain and other pain relievers. Don’t forget these simplest of medications. Even in a best case scenario, you will be suffering for about 1 week with an itchy painful stye. The more pain relief you can get the easier that will be to get through.
We hope this article has provided you with some useful information. Be sure to give us your comments and input.