Any time an affliction hits our eyes, we are often left in worry, wondering what might be going on and how serious the condition is. When someone suffers from a stye, they are usually concerned on the causes, symptoms, and treatments. While a stye is often very painful, it is not life-threatening and is normally easily treated.
What exactly is a stye?
A stye forms through the infection of an oil gland, normally found on the outside edges of the eyelid. These oil glands become infected with bacteria and begin to swell and fill with white blood cells. Styes can occur on both the lower eyelid and the upper. They can range in size from very tiny to as large as a dime.
What are the symptoms of styes?
The first sign of a stye is a noticed knot or swelling on the eyelid. The swelling may or may not be accompanied by redness. Before long, irritation and pain set in as the swelling grows larger. The stye normally develops a head of infection that resembles a pimple. Depending on the severity of the stye, symptoms can be mild or more severe. In some of the more severe cases, vision changes can temporarily occur, but are not common.
Are styes contagious?
Styes are highly contagious and can be easily transferred from contact with an infected person. The bacteria that cause styes are found in the nasal cavity and are spread to the eye through touching the nasal secretions and then rubbing the eyes. Everyone has this bacteria living in their bodies and styes can occur even when one takes cleanliness precautions.
What is the treatment for styes?
Most styes typically go away in a few days with no treatment. There are creams that can be applied to styes to accelerate their healing. The best treatment involves cool or warm compresses to the affected area. It is important that the stye is never popped, as this can cause further spread of the bacteria and increase the chance of prolonged infection. Keeping the stye area clean and dry can promote faster healing and keep the bacteria from spreading to other glands on the lids.
When should I see a doctor for my stye?
If the stye becomes fevered or the redness and swelling do not appear to be going down after a couple of days, it may be necessary to schedule an eye doctor appointment. It is important that first time sufferers visit their eye doctor to get a proper diagnosis, as other eye ailments are mistaken at times for styes.
While styes are not always preventable, they can be lessened with careful washing of the hands and avoiding contact contamination of the eyes with bacteria. If you suspect that you may have a stye, keep the area clean and dry and avoid trauma to the area as this will prolong the healing process. If given time, a stye clears up fairly quickly and normally does not leave behind any lasting problems.
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