Have you ever had one of those big, painful red lumps forming near the edge of your eyelids called a stye?
They look like you were on the receiving end of a Conor McGregor sneaky jab or a Manny Pacquiao left hook?
Well, that lump is actually an eye disease brought about by an infection in the follicle at the base of your eyelash or in one of the oil glands of the eye lid called a meibomian gland.
And neither Pacquiao’s or McGregor’s fists are to be blamed for your eye stye.
Instead, point the finger at staphylococcal bacteria, a usually harmless organism that can cause infection to a person with damaged or broken skin.
Styes (also known as hordeolums) often resolve by themselves over the course of a week or so but…
- The downside is that it has the ability to spread and form more styes. If the infection begins to affect the entire eyelid, medical intervention may be needed.
- They are a sign of meibomian gland dysfunction (also known as MGD), which can eventually lead to dry eyes.
- Hordeolums are also associated with blepharitis and ocular roscacea.
- Recurrent styes without treatment can cause chalazions. These calcifications of the meibomian glands often need surgical removal as they can be uncomfortable and can even distort vision.
You know that you are developing this eye disease when the following happens:
1. A red lump begins to develop on your eyelid. If it is yellow or white at the tip, there may be pus in the stye as well.
2. Watery eyes, wherein you feel that there is something lodged up there.
3. Irritated eyes that make you want to scratch the itchy part.
This eye disease usually subsides by itself. It may even heal quickly if the stye bursts in such a way that the pus will get drained out. However, do not try to force drain the pus. There is a probability of the infection spreading if the pus gets squeezed into the tissue beside the stye.
To manage this eye disease, the following can be done:
1. Massage the affected area with a hot compress for five minutes several times a day. It will help rupture the stye faster. Dispose or wash the hot compress properly after use.
2. Wash your hands regularly to minimize the spread of infection.
3. Apply ointments laden with antibiotics, as prescribed by your optometrist, although this is very unlikely to help, as the antibiotic ointment cannot penetrate the skin unless it is broken.
4. Pain can be relieved by taking paracetamol.
5. Your optometrist may also recommend oral antibiotics, especially if the stye keeps recurring. In Australia this will need to be prescribed by a GP as therapeutically qualified optometrists have not had legislation passed yet – hopefully this situation will change soon.
6. Do not touch the stye. Avoid rubbing or squeezing it to minimize the chances of infection. It can actually spread by touch.
7. If this eye disease proves to be stubborn and would not go away, your optometrist may recommend cutting open the stye, by referring you to an ophthalmologist.
The Stye is getting worse! What now?
Always check with your optometrist if you think your eye disease is not getting any better. In particular, seek medical advice immediately if one of the following occurs:
1. You notice some discharge from your eye.
2. The white part of your eye becomes really red.
3. Your entire eyelid suddenly swells up.
4. Your eyes become really sore.
5. If the stye keeps coming back.
6. If a child with a stye suddenly develops a fever, experiences headache and exhaustion, or loses his appetite.
If you are worried by a bump that looks like a stye in your eye lid call us now on (02) 9290 1899 or BOOK ONLINE.