Stye

Written by Dr Claudia Pastides, 15th March 2019


Styes are painful inflammation or infections on the eyelid. Some styes are right on the margin of the eyelid, in amongst the eyelashes and others occur on the underside of the eyelid.


Causes

Causes include infections of the eyelash follicle or meibomian glands (oil forming glands that contribute to the formation of tears).

Risk factors

  • Blepharitis (red and swollen edges of the eyelids)
  • Acne rosacea
  • Ingrowing eyelashes
  • Ectropion (out turned and drooping lower eyelid)

Typical Symptoms

  • Painful eyelid
  • Usually only one eye is affected
  • Swelling of the eyelid/at the eyelash margin

Common Treatment

Styes usually self resolve within around 7 days. It might help to:

  • * Apply a warm compress to the eye a few times a day
  • * Avoid using makeup on the eye

If there is also an eye infection, your GP might prescribe antibiotic eye drops.

When to speak to a doctor

It is important to speak to a doctor if you are:

  • Having any problems with your vision (styes do not usually affect vision)
  • You have severe eye pain or eyelid swelling
  • You develop a fever
  • The stye isn’t improving despite warm compresses

Styes can often be diagnosed via a digital consultation. If the GP decides you need a face to face appointment, they will discuss what steps you can take next.

Prevention

Styes can’t always be prevented, but their incidence might be reduced if you:

  • Always wash your hands before touching your eyes
  • Remove eye makeup before going to sleep
  • Don’t share towels and eye makeup with someone that has a stye


More information

NHS - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stye/