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A stye is a swelling on the eyelid. A stye is normally caused by a bacterial infection in one of two glands in the eyelid: the glands of Moll, which produce sweat, and the glands of Zeis, which produce lubrication for eyelashes.

Styes may be acute in nature. They are normally predicated by a tender area in the eye where pus filled pimple forms. The pimple starts out yellow and small, but quickly expands as more pus fills in. A stye can occur on either eyelid.

The area around the stye will become red and swollen. Styes can also be very painful to the touch, and it may even be painful to blink. Along with pain, the stye might be generally uncomfortable. Depending on the size, the stye can put pressure on the eye. It may cause the eyelid to droop. Patients also report burning and itching sensation, or the feeling of something being stuck in your eye. Mucous and crusty discharge may be present, especially upon waking. Along with this comes excessive tearing throughout the day. Styes can also affect vision, especially if they keep one from opening their eye all the way. Styes can cause blurred vision and sensitivity to light.

Styes are normally harmless. They do not affect the eye permanently and any vision complications should disappear after the stye is gone. Styes normally disappear after a few days. Once the infection is fought off, the stye will rupture on its own, releasing pus and water. Causing the stye to drain before its time can spread the bacteria over the eye. A stye may occasionally become a chalazion after it ruptures. A doctor should examine any stye lasting longer than two weeks. You should see a doctor if your eye bleeds or other parts of your eye begin to swell or redden. This could be a sign that the infection is spreading. If the stye continues to grow and becomes extremely painful, surgery may be necessary. Recurring styes may be indication of a deeper condition.

The most common cause for a stye is poor hygiene. Not washing one’s hands or sharing things like towels or pillows can spread the infection. The bacteria that cause styes are always in the body. Touching one’s nose than eyes is a common way to infect oneself. Excessive rubbing of the eyes, sleep deprivation and lack of food or water are other causes.

Styes should respond within a few days to a warm compress. Holding it on your eye for about 15 minutes every few hours should reduce all of the swelling around the core of the stye. After two days or so, the stye should be nothing more than a yellow pimple with a small amount of inflammation around the affected area. If swelling is not reduced, your doctor may drain some of the stye by using a needle.

Additionally, your eyes should be kept extremely clean when suffering from a stye. It is suggested that you wash your eyes with mild soap or shampoo everyday. Artificial tears can be used to keep the eyes clean and lubricated. This process should continue for a few days after the stye has ruptured to prevent further infection or a stye recurring. One should not wear make up or use contacts during the healing process. Acetaminophen should be taken if the eye is very painful. Antibiotics are given to those who have recurring styes or an additional infection. Steroid ointment can help reduce inflammation. As stated above, when the stye does not respond to any treatment, the eyelid must be opened up and have the stye drained manually. If the stye responds in this way, it may be an indication of skin cancer.