Styes: Should You Be Concerned?

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Person Rubbing eyes

I’m sure at some point you’ve felt the nagging discomfort of having a stye on your eyelid. Styes are similar to a pimple, but they form on your upper or lower eyelid. The stye inflammation of the eyelid can be caused by a couple things—either an oil duct is blocked up on your eyelid, or germs such as a staphylococcal bacterium have been trapped with dead skin cells on the eyelid. Usually, styes are never more than a superficial frustration, but they can form deeper in the eyelid.

There are two types of styes that you can develop:

  • External Stye: Starts like a pimple next to your eyelashes, but then turns red and begins to cause discomfort. Generally, these last several days before eventually bursting and healing. Most of the time external styes come, go and heal all on their own, but in rare circumstances you may require the care of an eye doctor.
  • Internal Stye: These styes grow on the underside of your eyelid and become red and inflamed much like the external stye, but internal styes tend to be more serious because their location prevents a whitehead from forming thus sealing in the infection. Internal styes may disappear completely without medical intervention, but it can also leave a fluid-filled cyst that may need to be opened by an eye doctor and drained.

Should the stye never heal, you will develop scar tissue that forms a permanent painless bump on your eyelid. These bumps are called chronic chalazion and like styes, are generally harmless and rarely affect your eye or vision. There are rare cases in which it can lead to an infection in your face called cellulitis which can be very serious. If you feel that your stye or chalazion are becoming a more serious problem, then it is important that you see an eye doctor and undergo a proper examination.


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