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Suggestions for frequent styes


Dear Doctor,

I am a student at the Community College and I suffer from frequent styes. They tend to be very painful. I recently consulted an eye specialist and I was told that it would take care of itself and all I had to do was use warm compresses and keep the area clean.{{more}} I have noticed that every stye is preceeded by some kind of exposure, usually to pollutants and often to extreme hot weather. What suggestions can you give to me?

Dear concerned student,

Thank you for your question. A stye, otherwise called a hordeolum, is a common problem of the eye that is usually caused by a bacterial infection in one of the small glands on the edges of the eyelids. Sometimes, they are found just under the eyelids. Children usually get styes from rubbing their eyes with dirty hands, but adults also get them from time to time and usually it is very difficult to determine how the infection started in the first place. There are reports that show that, sometimes, styes can come about because of the need for glasses, due to strain on the eyes. Reports have also shown that people with recurring styes should also check to rule out diabetes.

A stye looks and feel like a pimple on the eyelid. It can sometimes be painful, and to differentiate a stye from a cyst (another name for a cyst is chalazion), you should tug slightly at the eyelid skin. If the swollen area moves with the skin, it is most likely a stye. If it doesn’t, it is most likely a chalazion. Chalazia (plural) are often painless and some styes tend to hurt, especially in the acute phase.

Most styes disappear within a week or so without treatment, but some are very stubborn. The stubborn ones are usually incised and drained by the doctor. Oftentimes, topical antibiotics and anti-inflammatory eye drops are used. The patient is also asked to apply warm washcloths as a compress to the affected eye, usually about three to four times per day. One is advised not to squeeze the stye, even if it comes to a head. There are lots of over-the-counter remedies available for styes, but the best ones are usually the ones your doctor prescribes.

Good luck.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us Send questions to: [email protected]

Tel: 784 456-1210