What is a Stye?
A stye or hordeolum, is an infection involving the oil glands of the eyelids. They are typically caused by bacteria that colonize, or live on, the surface of the eyelid skin.
How do styes form?
Styes occur when bacteria become trapped in oil glands that are blocked or plugged. In some cases, medications or hormonal changes can alter the composition of the oil and make it more likely to plug the glands.
Styes can affect either the external or internal surface of the eyelid, but they almost always involve the glands at the eyelid margin.
What are the symptoms of a stye?
Styes cause swelling and inflammation of the eyelid, make it red, tender to the touch and sometimes painful.
Styes can also cause increased mucous production from the internal surface of the eyelids that can blur vision and cause crusting in the corners of the eyes or at the eyelid margins.
Infrequently, the infection can spread to surrounding tissues, which is referred to as cellulitis. In cases of cellulitis, patients may experience fever and swelling can be quite sever and the lids might block vision.
How are styes treated?
Mild styes can usually be treated with warm compresses and eyelid hygiene
two or three times a day. The warmth helps the oil flow from the glands more freely, and the lid hygiene removes bacteria and other debris that may be clogging the glands.
More moderate styes may be treated with topical antibiotic or combination antibiotic/steroid ointments in addition to warm compresses and lid hygiene.
Severe styes and cases of cellulitis may require the addition of oral antibiotics. In cases of abscess formation, some styes will drain on their own, while others require surgical drainage.