What is a stye?
Also known as a hordeolum, a stye is an acute infection of the glands that are located on the edges of the eyelid. Usually affected are the so-called Meibom glands. They are sebaceous glands with the function of producing oily particles for tear film. An infection of these glands is also called hordeolum internum. Infection of the Zeis or Moll glands is fairly rare. These are the sebaceous and sweat glands located directly next to the eyelashes. In this case the stye is then also called hordeolum externum.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of a stye are an acute infection, a painful and pussy swelling and localized redness on the eyelid. The conjunctiva can also be affected and appear swollen and reddish. In case of a deep infection, the hordeolum internum, the borders of the eyelid can arch outward. The patient can also suffer from a fever. Very rare complications are the eyelid abscess, an orbita phlegmone, which is a spreading of the infection across the entire eye, or a thrombosis.
What causes a stye?
Ae stye is usually caused by a staphylococcus infection and sometimes but rarely a streptococcus infection. Generally, it is a harmless infection. Should these infections appear frequently, the cause can either be from a weakened immune system as a result of a systemic disease such as diabetes mellitus or the cause can be from a continuous re-infection caused for example by rubbing eyes with dirty hands.
How are styes treated?
If you get a stye it is not necessary to see a doctor. In the acute state the use of head can lead to a capsulation or a break-through of the pus. Dry heat in general can be helpful in treating a stye. Common heating cushions can also be used. The use of moist heat in the form of bandages or compresses is not recommended. They will only promote the spreading of germs.
However, if the stye does not disappear on its own or seems to be getting worse you should consult a doctor. The doctor can open the stye with a small incision which will provide relief. Antibiotic ointments can also be used because they prevent the spreading of germs to other glands.
It is not advisable to wear contact lenses until the stye dissipates. Wearing contact lenses when a stye isn’t fully healed may increase discomfort. Bacteria may also be trapped under the contact lens in the event that the stye bursts, resulting in a more serious infection. You can resume wearing breathable disposable contact lenses only when the stye is completely gone.
How to prevent styes?
There are several ways to prevent styes. Never touch your eyes or handle contact lenses without washing your hands. Refrain from sharing eye makeup and towels with others. Wash off makeup before sleeping at night. Cosmetics, like contact lenses, should also be replaced in a timely manner to prevent irritation of the eye area. And as much as possible, only wear contact lenses that offer everyday comfort.