A stye of the eyelid is a condition that occurs when one of the normal oil glands of the lid gets blocked. Pre-existing conditions like rosacea and blepharitis can predispose certain people to the formation of styes. Incomplete removal of eye make-up or inadequate lid hygiene can also contribute to the formation of this condition.
Usually, styes appear with a tender or painful red area of swelling on the upper and/or lower eyelids. Sometimes, more than one eyelid or more than one bump can be felt. The appearance is usually sudden and cause the eyelid to droop.
The traditional first line treatment for styes is hot compresses to the affected eyelid. This is done by applying a warm, wet washcloth to the area where the swelling has occurred. The washcloth should be as hot as a patient can tolerate, but not too hot to cause a burn to the overlying skin. The heat should be applied for five to ten minutes and repeated at least three times per day. If the swelling should get worse, the vision is diminished, or the pain increases, a consultation with an ophthalmologist is necessary to properly diagnose the condition and recommend the next course of action.
If at home remedies do not help a stye to resolve, prescription medications may be necessary to improve the condition. Steroid eye drops with or without an antibiotic are often prescribed to decrease the swelling. Oral antibiotics may also be necessary to treat any overlying skin infection or cellulitis. These prescription strength remedies should be done in conjunction with hot compresses to ensure the best chance for resolution of the stye.
In case medications and home remedies do not improve the condition, minor office surgery may be necessary to treat the condition. Drainage of the stye can be done after a local anesthetic injection is given to the area. This quick procedure will help the blocked oil gland to begin flowing again, and cause the swelling and bump to go down. Surgery to treat styes is typically done by an ophthalmologist or oculoplastic surgeon.
North Shore Eye Care offers medical and surgical treatment for styes at all of our Long Island locations that now span Nassau and Suffolk Counties. We look forward to seeing you in the office to diagnose and treat your condition.