A sty or stye is a red, painful bump, sort of like a boil or a pimple. A sty usually forms on the edge of your eyelid, but it can also form on the inner part. Your eyelids have lots of tiny oil glands, where dirt, dead skin or oil buildup can block these small holes. Therefore, when a gland is blocked, bacteria can grow and cause a sty to develop.

A sty is not normally serious but can be painful and irritating. In many cases, a sty will start to disappear on its own after a couple of days. But there are some cases, where it is important to consult a doctor.

Signs and Symptoms of a Sty

A sty usually happens in one eye at a time, but it’s possible for both eyes to have a sty. The early symptoms of a sty are mild and might include irritation, discomfort, or redness along the lash line. As the sty continues to develop, other signs and symptoms may include:

  • Light sensitivity
  • Eye discharge or crustiness along the eyelid
  • Excessive tear production
  • Feeling as though something is in the eye
  • A small yellow spot in the middle of the bump
  • A red bump that resembles a boil or pimple along the eyelid

When to See a Doctor?

In many cases, a sty is harmless, it won’t affect your ability to see clearly. You should try applying a warm washcloth to your eyelid for about 5 to 10 minutes a couple of times a day and gently massaging the eyelid. Make sure you contact your ophthalmologist, not your optometrist if the sty doesn’t begin to improve after 48 hours, affects your vision, becomes more painful or if the redness and swelling extend beyond your eyelid.

How to Prevent a Sty?

How can I treat a stye in my eye? Some habits can make you more prone to getting a sty. If you are prone to developing a sty, follow these tips to help you avoid them:

1. Wash Your Hands

You can prevent a sty by washing your hands with soap and warm water several times each day and keeping your hands away from your eyes.

2. Apply Warm Compresses

You can prevent a sty by applying a warm compress soaked in warm water to your eyes for approximately 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Manage Blepharitis

Are you prone to blepharitis? Blepharitis is an inflammation and ineffective eyelid disease that produces itchy and flaky eyelids. You can manage blepharitis by using pre-package and pre-medicated eyelid wipes in order to reduce or eliminate bacteria that cause blepharitis to reduce your chances of developing a stye.