What Is A Stye?

If you get a stye, you may not know what it is until you have one. Styes and chalazions are some of the most common reasons patients come to our office. Many patients suffer from them, but are rarely told how to prevent them from coming back. Keep reading to learn more about what a stye is!


What Causes A Stye?

Styes and chalazions occur when a pore in your eyelid gets clogged.   Think of it like a pimple on your skin, but instead it’s on the eyelid. These eyelid pores allow the natural oils produced to go into your tears.

Its main function is to prevent your tears from evaporating too quickly from your eye. If the oils aren’t distributed as they should be, this can lead to dry eye and discomfort. This is why most patients will also talk about having a history of dry eye when they come in with a stye.

How Do I Treat A Stye?

When treating a stye, the goal is to unclog the clogged pore of the eyelid. This is why part of the treatment of a stye or chalazion includes warm compresses. Compresses help open the pores and allow the oils to get released from the pores. Our doctors at SightMD  always recommend at least 10 minutes of heat applied to the eyelids per day.

A second aspect of treatment includes scrubbing the eyelashes with baby shampoo. This should be done on a towel or an over-the-counter pre-medicated eyelid wipe (e.g. Ocusoft).

If scrubbing the eyelashes doesn’t help, you may want to add an antibiotic or steroid ointment. This should then get applied into the affected eye three times a day. This medication helps with reducing inflammation and minimizing bacteria around the eye.


What If Treating It Doesn’t Work?

These treatments can help, but they aren’t a guarantee. If your stye or chalazion gets worse, it can turn into a skin infection. If this happens, oral antibiotics will become necessary.

In extreme cases, it can infect the deeper tissues of the eye socket and even the brain. In these cases, patients experience pain from eye movement and decreased vision. A visit to the emergency room is a good idea so they can receive a course of IV antibiotics in the hospital.

Prevent Getting A Stye

As with most things in medicine, prevention is key. If you’ve had a stye or chalazion, you are more likely to develop another one. Practice good habits like using warm compresses and eyelid wipes every day. This can help you prevent the clogging of pores.

If you wear makeup, you should wear a formula that is not comedogenic and is hypoallergenic. These formulas are less likely to clog your pores or irritate your eyelids. When wearing makeup, you should practice smart habits. Don’t sleep in your eye makeup! Not only is it bad for your eyes and skin, but it could cause your pores to get clogged.

Have more questions about styes? Visit one of SightMD’s 23 convenient locations in Long Island!

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