What Is An Eye Stye

Understanding what an eye stye is can help you catch threats to your eye health early on. This visible bump is more than just a blemish on your face. Find out everything you need to know about eye styes here.

What Is An Eye Stye

An eye stye is a small lump that forms on your eyelid due to contact with some kind of bacteria. The bump, also known as a hordeolum, occurs when bacteria overwhelms your meibomian, or oil, glands. It starts off as a painless mark, however, after a few days, an eye stye will enlarge and become sensitive to touch and may result in a gritty feeling as if something is stuck in your eye.

What to Do If You Have An Eye Stye

Typically, eye styes will eventually burst open after a few days, allowing for fluid to drain out and the incision to seal up. If this process doesn't occur naturally, do not try to drain the liquid yourself. You can help soothe these pesky bumps at home by simply placing a compress soaked in warm water to the lump every several hours or so. Your eye stye should start looking better after a couple of days of this method. If this at-home remedy doesn't work, consult your doctor. Special antibiotics or manual draining of the bump may be necessary. For healthy recovery, do not wear contact lenses or use eye makeup for the duration of the eye stye.

Eye Styes vs Chalazions

Before pursuing treatment for an eye stye, make sure the bump isn't actually a chalazion. This eyesore is very similar to styes in that it produces a small cyst-like lump near your eyelid. Chalazions occur when an oil gland is completely clogged. Untreated eye styes can actually develop into this issue, however, the two disorders differ in that chalazions take much longer to heal and are less touch-sensitive. If the problem persists, never try to squeeze open the bump and instead stop by your doctor's office for further consultation.

How To Prevent An Eye Stye

Be sure to follow these tips to help prevent an eye stye from forming:

  • Wash your hands before putting them near your eyes.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes, which may transfer bacteria from surrounding skin into your eyes.
  • Always properly clean and store your contacts after wearing them, or try daily disposables, like Acuvue 1 Day Moist lenses.
  • Prevent the growth of bacteria on makeup applicators by regularly cleaning them, disposing of products, like mascara, after six months, and tossing products you used when you first noticed an eye stye develop.
  • Take off your makeup before going to bed to limit the potential for inflammation.

Knowing what an eye stye is can help you notice warning signs as soon as possible. A little baby shampoo on your eyelids can help stop recurring bumps, however, you should always check with your doctor if the problem is consistent.



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