A stye (also spelled "sty") is a red, tender bump on the eyelid. The medical term for the condition is hordeolum. It develops when one or more glands at the edge of the eyelid become infected. It can occur on the inside or outside of the eyelid. Styes are not harmful to your vision but can become quite uncomfortable and unattractive.
Initial symptoms of a stye include pain, redness, tenderness and swelling in the area. The glands around the eyelid that are affected are called meibominan glands which are sebaceous glands, otherwise known as sweat glands. Styes are more common in people with rosacea, a skin condition with overactive sebaceous glands.
A stye results from an acute infection of these meibomian glands or may also may arise from an infected hair follicle at the base of an eyelash. The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus is responsible for 90-95% of cases of styes. A stye can also develop as a complication of a low-grade eyelid infection called blepharitis.
Treatment begins with applying warm compresses over the affected area four times per day and cleansing the area with baby shampoo twice daily. A prescription antibiotic ointment that is safe for use around the eyes may also be necessary along with occasional use of oral antibiotics. The stye may rupture and drain, resulting in quicker healing. If not, occasionally lancing in the office is required. Once they resolve, it is important to continue the baby shampoo lid scrubs so they do not return.
Dr. Lisa Bennett is an Eye Physician & Surgeon (Ophthalmologist) specializing in medical and surgical eye care such as small incision cataract surgery and blade-free LASIK. She practices with Dr. Martha Jay and Dr. James Ivanoski at Madison Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon and Saukville, Wisconsin.
For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.MadisonMedicalEyeCare.com.