A sty is a red, painful abscess (collection of pus) located at the base of an
eyelash or under or inside the eyelid. It is sometimes spelled as stye. Medically, it is called hordeolum. An internal hordeolum refers to a sty that occurs in a meibomian gland. The meibomian gland is the gland that secretes an oily substance onto the eyeball that is located on the underside of the eyelid.External hordeolum is a sty that occurs at the hair follicle or base of an eyelash.
A sty should not be confused with a chalazion. The latter pertains to a chronic inflammation in the glands of the eyelids that is usually painless. In most cases, a sty will disappear within a few days, when the pus is drained from the sty, even without medical treatment. Stys are very common and are usually harmless. It may occur to anyone at any age and may also recur occasionally.
Causes of Sty
A sty occurs from a localized infection of the glands (internal hordeolum) or a hair follicle at the eyelash (external hordeolum). The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, which is typically found on the skin, is often the culprit behind these infections. The following can clog the glands and hair follicles:
- Poor eyelid hygiene
- Improper or incomplete removal of eye makeup
- Use of expired or infected cosmetics
- Eyelid inflammatory diseases
- Hormonal changes
Signs and Symptoms of Sty
A sty is often visible to the naked eye. It is easily diagnosed by its appearance and symptoms:
- Tender, painful red lump
- Small, yellowish spot at the center of the lump
- Irritation in the eye
- Teary eyes
- Swelling and discomfort when blinking
First Aid Treatment for Sty
Most cases of sty will not require medical treatment and may be given home treatment for a speedy healing time. The main goal of applying first aid for cases of sty is to avoid discomfort and relief of symptoms. Some tips for first aid treatment for sty include:
- Apply warm compress or warm compress on the affected area for 10-15 minutes. Do this four to six times a day.
- Do not put eye makeup to avoid further infection or prolong healing period. Avoid wearing contact lenses.
- Do not attempt to pop the sty or chalazion.
How to Prevent a Sty
Although the following tips do not guarantee complete avoidance of developing a sty, they can help reduce risks significantly.
- Upon waking up, apply warm compress to the eyelids for a minute or two.
- Keep all cosmetics and cosmetics tools clean.
- Avoid sharing cosmetics or cosmetic eye tools with others.
- Throw away old or contaminated eye makeup.
- Avoid touching the eyes and surrounding areas.
Eye infections need to be given immediate treatment because it can easily develop complications. By giving first aid treatment, preferably from first aid courses, to stys and other eye problems, complications may be significantly reduced.