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Stye: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About stye

A stye is an infection of the glands of Zeis (sebaceous gland) or Moll (sweat gland) in the eyelid margin at the base of the eye lashes. It is also referred to as an external hordeolum.

Stye: Incidence, age and sex

Although they are particularly common in infants, styes are experienced by people of all ages. No gender predilection is observed.

Signs & symptoms of a stye: Diagnosis

The infection of the glands of the eye lid leads to a tender focal swelling and redness. An abscess may form and it points at the lid margin.

Causes and prevention of a stye

Styes are commonly caused by a Staphylococcus aureus bacterial infection, or by the blocking of the sweat or oil gland at the base of the eyelash. Styes may be triggered by poor nutrition, lack of sleep or rubbing of the eyes especially with unclean hands. Stye prevention is by proper hygiene particularly handwashing . Upon awakening, washing the eyes is beneficial by preventing blockage of the oil glands of the eyelid. Sharing of face towels and eye cosmetics should ideally be avoided.

Stye: Complications

Untreated, the infection may rarely progress to cellulitis of the lid or orbit, requiring the use of systemic antibiotics. The most common complications are –formation of a chalazion (a cyst in the eyelid ) that causes cosmetic deformity and corneal irritation, disruption of lash growth, lid deformity and lid fistula.

Stye: Treatment

Styes usually subside within a week and applying warm compresses on the affected eye helps the drainage and hastens the curing process. Patients may cleanse the affected eyelid with tap water or with a mild, non-irritating soap with the eye closed. In addition, topical antibiotic preparations are often used. If necessary, surgical incision and drainage may also be done.