Oh me, oh my, I think I have a stye
Noticed a little bump on your eyelid that seemed to appear out of nowhere? Well that just might be a stye.
A stye, also known as a hordeolum, is a small, red, painful lump near the base of your eyelash. It can sometimes look like a pimple and is caused by a bacterial infection. Styes are usually on the outside of your eyelid but they can sometimes form on the inside.
How do I know if I have a stye?
You might have a stye if you have:
- A red swollen lump on your eyelid
- Eyelid pain
- Eyelid swelling
But not to worry, styes usually go away on their own after a few days.
What is a chalazion?
A chalazion can also cause a lump on your eyelid, but they are usually not painful. A chalazion is caused by a blocked oil duct near your eyelashes and most commonly occurs under your eyelid.
Even though a chalazion and a stye are different, their treatment is usually the same.
How can I prevent styes?
A few simple steps can help you avoid getting a stye:
- Wash your hands: Use soap and water to wash your hands, or use a hand sanitizer. Also, try to keep your hands away from your eyes.
- Cosmetic care: Throw away any eye makeup that you were using to avoid the same infection from coming back. Also, avoid sharing makeup and don’t wear makeup overnight.
- Clean contacts: Make sure your contact lenses are disinfected properly and your hands are washed before handling them.
- Blepharitis: If you have blepharitis, a condition where your eyelids are chronically inflamed, you should follow your doctor’s instructions on how to manage it.
How can you treat a stye?
Styes can go away on their own, but some treatments will require you to seek help from a healthcare provider:
- Warm compress: Soak a clean washcloth in hot water and hold it to your eye for 10–15 minutes. You can repeat this a few times a day to provide relief.
- Antibiotics: Your doctor can prescribe antibiotic ointment to apply to your eye.
- Steroid shots: Your doctor might give you a steroid shot to help control excess swelling.
- Surgery: If the stye or chalazion does not go away on its own you may need to have it drained. This procedure is usually done under local anaesthetic at your doctors office.
When should I see a doctor?
Styes are usually fairly harmless and can be treated at home with a warm compress. However, if that doesn’t work and the stye is not improving after 48 hours then you should contact your doctor.
It is also important to contact your doctor if the redness and swelling involves the entire eyelid or extends to your cheek or other parts of your face.
Can someone at Pulse On Call help me?
Of course! Schedule an online doctors appointment and one of our team members will be happy to help. Our licensed Canadian physicians can help diagnose and can also provide prescriptions online.
If an ophthalmologist or other specialist is required, our doctors will help find a nearby facility who can help.
The best part? You can do it from the comfort of your own home and it’s free if you have OHIP coverage!
Please note that all information within this posting is up-to-date at the time of publication.