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Styes are something almost everyone has experienced in their lifetime. This condition cause a reddened area along the eye lid that is swollen and could be itchy. The area gets even more swollen in the morning and may even be painful. Yep, you’re experiencing a sty.
A sty is an infection, generally in a hair follicle that is caused by a bacterial infection. After a few days there can be a white head that forms and pus appears in the area. The individual may also feel as if there is something gritty in the eye and there may be more tears than usual as the body attempts to soothe the eye by producing more tears from the lacrimal glands located just above the orbit of the eye.
Where Do Styes Develop?
The sty can actually come out on the outside of the eye lid, in which case you will see the common white or yellow head that forms. In the other case it forms on the inside of the lid which prevents the common head from forming.
The bacteria that causes a sty is usually Staphlococcus infection. This is a strain of bacteria that commonly lives on our skin surface. Our bodies are actually covered with billions of friendly bacteria that coexist with us. These bacteria don’t often cause trouble unless our immune systems are compromised and we are no longer able to fight infections easily.
Pink Eye or a Sty?
Styes are different than pink eye because pink eye infects the conjunctiva of the eye or the membrane that covers the eye lid and the sty is an infection in one or two hair follicles. Initially they may appear quite the same but with a sty you’ll notice that the lid (either lower or upper) becomes swollen and red in one place while with Pink Eye the eye becomes irritated and pink or red in the white of the eye and there isn’t a localized swelling of the lid but a more generalized swelling.
Tips to Survive Your Sty
Don’t Spread the Infection. To avoid spreading the infection from one to the other eye:
- Don’t touch the eye and when you do wash your hands often.
- Dry the hands with a clean paper towel to keep the bacteria from spreading.
Speed Healing. You can help to decrease the pain and discomfort, as well as speed healing:
- Use a warm wet compress over the eye four times a day for 10 minutes each.
This will help the sty to form quickly and break quickly, thus speeding the healing of the infection and decreasing the pain and discomfort.
Don’t Pop the Pimple. Once you see a white or yellow head to the sty do not press it or rupture it. It will break on its own. Use a clean, warm wet wash cloth to clean the area and to carefully remove the pus once it has broken open.
When to Call the Doctor for Your Sty
You don’t usually have to call the doctor to treat a sty. However, you should call your doctor if your vision changes, if the eye becomes painful or if the sty returns quickly after it appears to have healed. If you develop a temperature at the same time that you have a sty you should see your doctor because this can be a symptom of a far more serious infection, cellulitis, that can look like a sty.
Sometimes a sty doesn’t resolve on its own and you have to see the doctor. They may prescribe a local antibiotic to treat the infection and will usually continue to recommend a warm wet wash cloth to help speed healing.
An internal sty, or one that forms under the lid, commonly has more problems healing than the ones that are on the outside of the lid.
Disabled World: Eye Stye Cures and Causes – http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/types/vision/eye-sty.php
EyeSmart: What are Chalzia and Styes – http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/chalazion-stye.cfm
KidsHealth: Styes – http://kidshealth.org/teen/diseases_conditions/sight/stye.html
PubMed health: Eyelid Bump – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002004/
LocalHarvest: Stye Eye Compress – http://www.localharvest.org/stye-eye-compress-C6573
Columbia: Stye – http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/student/health/pdf/R-S/Stye.pdf
Even Innocent Sparkler Causes Thousands of Eye Injuries
Fireworks injuries cause approximately 10,000 visits to the emergency department each year, most of them involve children who suffer thousands of eye injuries.1
Every year, ophthalmologists – physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care – treat thousands of patients who suffer a range of fireworks-related injuries, from cuts and bruises to damaged corneas and ruptured eyeballs. To help reduce the number of potentially blinding accidents this holiday, Kleinsorge Family Eye Care joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in working to debunk common myths about fireworks injuries.
Here are five fireworks myths, debunked:
- Sparklers are safe for young children. How hot to sparklers get? They burn at 1800 degrees, hot enough to melt some metals. These “safe” sparklers were responsible for most of the injuries to children age 5 and younger.1
- It’s safer to view fireworks than it is to light or throw them. Did you know that bystanders are injured by fireworks as often as the operators?2 We have the unfortunate story of Stacy Young was 100 yards away when an illegal firework sent shrapnel into her skull. Ophthalmologists couldn’t save her eye. It had to be removed.
- Consumer fireworks are safe. Sparklers and firecrackers each account for 1,400 injuries to the eyes1
- It’s safe to pick up a firework after it has been lit. Even though it looks like a dud, it may not act like one. When Javonte McNair, 14, picked up a previously lit firework, it exploded, severing his hand and blasting hot debris into his eye, causing severe damage to his cornea.
- It’s not the Fourth of July without consumer fireworks. The Fourth can be complete without using consumer fireworks. The Academy advises that the safest way to view fireworks is to watch a professional show.
If you experience a fireworks injury
If your injured by fireworks, ophthalmologists urge you to minimize the damage to the eye. All of these type of injuries require immediate professional medical attention. Remember DO NOT:
- Rub the eye. Rubbing may make the injury worse.
Attempt to rinse the eye.
Apply pressure to the eye.
Remove objects from the eye,
Apply ointments or take pain medications before seeking medical help.
To help ensure people get the facts about fireworks, the Academy also created an animated public service announcement titled “Fireworks: The Blinding Truth”. It encourages the public and media to view and share the public service announcement. Visit the Academy’s EyeSmart® website for more information about fireworks eye safety.
There are a variety of reasons that we develop vision problems later in life. While we can control many of the external factors, such as diet, smoking and exercise, sometimes it all comes down to family genetics.
Do you know that certain eye diseases can be inherited? For example, if you have a close relative with macular degeneration, you have a 50% chance of developing the condition. In addition, a family history of glaucoma increases your chances of developing the condition by four to nine times!
Talk with Your Family
So talk to your family members (both immediate and extended) about what eye conditions they have. Speak frankly and let them know that you’re striving to have healthy vision now and into the future. Your eye care professionals need as complete a medical history as possible. Armed with this information, you and your eye care professionals can evaluate whether you may be at higher risk.
Remember, although the conversation may feel a bit awkward, you need to know what to expect from your vision as you age so that you can plan accordingly. Knowledge is indeed power — use it!