It’s No Joke: Tips for Dealing with a Painful Stye on Your Eyelid

eyelashesBecause styes resemble small pimples, children and teens tend to joke about their embarrassing appearance. Although they are small and somewhat unassuming, styes can be quite painful. The key to successfully treating styes is understanding what they are and how to prevent them from forming in the first place.

What are Styes?

According to health professionals at the University of Columbia, a stye is actually an infected oil gland that forms on the edge of the eyelid. Because they occur in a delicate, sensitive area, styes can create a lot of discomfort. They frequently appear on both top and bottom eyelids, as well as along the edge of the lashes.

Everyone’s eyelids contain numerous oil glands that secrete a special liquid that serves as lubricant for the eye. Occasionally, these oil glands become clogged by various substances, including excess oil, dead skin, and bacteria. When enough materials get backed up and clogged, the oil gland becomes infected. A red, itchy, and painful bump forms.

Treating Styes

eyelidsMost people who suffer from styes would do just about anything to rid themselves of these diminutive nuisances. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to banish a stye for good.

One of the easiest, simplest solutions is to draw the infection out of the affected area. Apply a clean, warm – not hot – washcloth directly to the stye. Press it gently but firmly against the stye. The warm moisture will enter the oil gland and break up accumulated oil.

Contact wearers should temporarily switch to glasses to give their eyes a rest and prevent further irritation. If you wear contact lenses, wait until the stye clears up before replacing your contacts. Additionally, consider switching to a premium brand, such as Acuvue Moist.

Because a stye is really just an accumulation of old oil and dirt, you can also try cleansing your eye with mild baby shampoo, such as Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. The no tears formula works just as well for adults as it does for babies and children.

Persistent Styes that Won’t Heal

The majority of styes clear up just fine without any kind of medical intervention. In some situations, however, a stubborn stye requires more in-depth treatment. Ophthalmologists and other health professionals trained to care for eyes offer antibiotic eye drops, pills, and eye creams. Although it is extremely rare, some debilitating styes require surgery.

eye-cancerPreventing Styes

Some people are more prone to developing styes than others. Whether you suffer from recurring styes or an occasional red or irritated eyelid, there are several steps you can take to stop them from forming.

  • Don’t share makeup products with other people.
  • Cleanse your eyelids with baby shampoo a few times a week.
  • Get in the habit of disinfecting your contacts every single night. Change contacts frequently.
  • Don’t go to bed wearing eye makeup.
  • Don’t hang on to eye makeup products for long then three months. This includes mascara, eye shadow and eyeliner.
  • Avoid physical contact with people who suffer from styes.
  • Practice good hand washing.

Once you have learned how to properly care for your eyes, styes will be a thing of the past.

Simon Walters has a passion for eye care. He enjoys blogging about everyday problems and possible treatments to help people protect their precious eyes.