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Should I Seek Help for My Stye?

If you have eyelid pain, an inflamed eyelid, or a lump on your eyelid, it could be a stye. Styes may be painful and unsightly, but they generally don’t require medical intervention. These sore, red bumps that form on the upper or lower eyelid near your eyelashes develop in response to a bacterial infection.

In some cases, medical intervention may be required for a serious stye, and the team at Valley Eye Professionals can help. Here’s more information about this condition as well as when we recommend that you give us a call to have your stye evaluated.

Identifying a stye

A stye looks kind of like a pimple on your eyelid. In addition to having an inflamed, red lump, you may also experience pain around your eyelid, mild swelling, and extra tearing. 

All about styes

Kids are more likely to develop styes than adults, but anyone of any age can get one. Styes usually result when your eye has been infected with a staphylococcus bacteria, which is usually found in the nose. If you carry the bacteria, rub your nose, and then rub your eye, a stye may form. 

Other less common reasons for a stye development include direct contact with another person with a stye or contamination from an infected towel or pillowcase.

Treating a stye at home

Though a stye may be painful, red, and angry-looking, you can generally rely on it to resolve on its own after a few days. You can hold a warm washcloth to your eyelid for 5-10 minutes at a time, several times per day, to get some relief. Follow these compresses with gentle massage to encourage natural drainage. 

In general, though, it’s best to leave your stye alone. Do clean the affected eyelid regularly with warm water and mild soap, but resist the urge to “pop” it as this can cause the infection to spread. If you touch the area around your eye near your stye, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly to avoid spreading the bacteria. 

Don’t wear makeup until the eyelid has healed, and skip wearing contact lenses as the bacteria from the stye can contaminate them. Wear glasses until your stye has healed.

When to seek help

Contact Valley Eye Professionals if you notice your stye hasn’t improved after 48 hours. You should also seek medical help if the swelling and redness of your stye starts to migrate into other areas of your face or cheek. 

Usually, we can diagnose a stye with a simple examination.

How an optometrist can help

If you have a persistent stye, we may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or a topical antibiotic cream to apply to the inflamed area. For an infection that seems to have spread beyond the eyelid, oral antibiotics may be necessary.

Sometimes, minor surgery is required to relieve pressure. We make a small cut in the sty to drain any pus and accelerate healing.

At Valley Eye Professionals, we can help you with a persistent or especially painful stye as well as other eye issues and emergencies. Contact our office in Studio City, Los Angeles, for an appointment. You can call or use our online tool to request a visit. 

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