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A sty or stye is a type of eye infection that begins at the eyelids hair follicles and is caused by a Staph infection in that area. Also called a hordeolum, a sty is a red bump that rests on the edge of the eyelid. It is usually a red shade and painful and looks similar to a pimple. Stys are usually filled with pus, which can also break and leak fluid. Stys are more commonly formed on the outside of the eyelid, though close to the edge, however sometimes they are on the inside of the eyelid. It is often confused with a chalazion, though these are completely different conditions of the eye. A chalazion is a type of cyst on the eye while a sty is a bump forming from an infection. The easiest way to tell between the two is that a chalazion is painless while a sty is usually tender and/or painful.

Causes and Risk Factors of Sty

The majority of stys are caused by the opening of the eyelids oil glands being obstructed. These glands become infected by bacteria such as the staphylococcus bacteria. This leads to an infection which can cause the sty to form on the eyelid. There are several factors that might lead to a higher risk of infection, including poor hygiene of the eyelid, not washing your hands while removing contacts, infected or expired cosmetics, not removing all of your eye makeup each day, diseases of the eye such as rosacea or blepharitis, stress and hormonal changes.

Signs, Symptoms and Tests of Sty

The signs and symptoms of a sty are pretty straightforward and usually include a red bump on the edge of your eyelid that is tender and painful to the touch, extra watering of the eye where the bump is located and a sensation of something being in your eye which can get very irritating. When you first get a sty, you may notice you have tears flowing more easily, light sensitivity and constantly messing with your eye because you think something is stuck in it. These are usually the first signs of a sty forming.

When you try to clear the obstruction from your eye is when you probably notice a painful, red bump on the eyelid base. The eyelid might also swell slightly before the bump (the sty) finally forms. Look at the bump on your eye; sties usually have a head that points out except when its on the inside of the lid and points inward. It may take several days for the pus to fill up in the sty. They are not serious and dont usually affect your vision but they can be painful, uncomfortable and even come back. One complication to be aware of, however, is that if it is left untreated it can lead to cellulitis. This is an infection of the entire eye that goes beyond the sty. If you suspect you might have a sty, get proper treatment instead of attempting to treat it at home.

To diagnose a sty, you should visit an ophthalmologist. They will perform a physical examination, ask you questions about the bump and other symptoms youre experiencing and try to find other underlying causes such as previously having surgery or an injury of the eye. The doctor will use a microscope to examine your eye and may perform some basic tests including a blood test, CT scan of the eye socket and x-rays. These are mostly done to determine whether or not the sty is caused by other medical conditions.

Treatment, Drugs and Prevention of Sty

You should get medical treatment for the sty even though it isnt a serious condition as it can lead to an even bigger eye problem. The typical course of treatment includes a round of antibiotics to get rid of the infection and home treatment such as placing a warm washcloth on the infected area several times a day. Never try to pop, press or squeeze the sty as you can make the infection worse