MEDICAL NOTES

This eye infection is easily treated

A Stye is an infection or small abscess around an eyelash root. (See Picture).

It is most commonly caused by a bacteria known as staphylococcus. Styes do not threaten your eyesight, and their presence does not mean that you need glasses.

The first sign may be aching, tenderness, or fullness in the eyelid, followed in a day or so by some swelling and redness. Later, a small bump forms on the edge of the lid.

As the bump grows it may form a head or point in the center and drain a little pus, which dries to form little bits of crust on the lashes.

Styes can be treated by warm soaks (a face flannel soaked in warm water) on the eyelid two or three times a day. Moderate heat hastens the healing process by increasing circulation to the infected area.

If there is a head on the Stye, it will usually drain by itself. Do not squeeze on the Stye to help drain it - that risks spreading the infection and can be dangerous.

Rarely, you will need to have the lash pulled to help drain the pus. This is usually not painful. Antibiotic eyedrops or ointment may be prescribed.

During treatment, do not wear eyeliner or mascara. Discard any brushes and containers that may be contaminated with the bacteria that caused the infection.

Repeated attacks of Styes may require antibiotics by mouth to fight the bacteria.

If recurring Styes are associated with chronic skin problems and blepharitis (lid inflammation), you may require a complete medical checkup and body and scalp treatment.

 
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