We often take our eyes for granted. We drive, squint, play sports, and work in the yard without worrying about what we’re able to see or not see. But it’s when our eyes exhibit problems that we really realize how useful they are. It’s when our glasses break that we realize all we aren’t suddenly able to do! Keep reading to learn about one of the most common eye problems that is often preventable: a stye also know as a chalazion.
A stye or chalazion often occurs when the area at the base of your eyelashes or a gland along your eyelid becomes irritated and clogged (usually with staphylococci bacteria). Similar to a pimple on the skin, a stye is simply a pore that is no longer breathing and operating properly. When pores get clogged, the buildup can cause issues. With skin, a pimple is filled with bacteria, white blood cells, and it is often raised. Styes have similar symptoms, but are obviously going to be different, since they will affect a sensitive body part: the eye. A stye or chalazion is caused by a clogged meibomian gland.
A stye will likely cause one or some of the following reactions:
- A solid red bump with a small spot in the center
- An aggravating feeling that something is trapped in your eye
- Scratching or itchiness near the eye
- Light sensitivity
- Extra discharge or crust along the eyelid
- Watery eye(s)
If you have a stye, there are some things you can do to treat it at home. Put warm washcloths on the eye several times a day for ten minutes at a time. This will help open up the stye and drain faster. Try to avoid squeezing or pressing the stye, as that can make it worse. Keep it clean and avoid touching the stye (unless you are cleaning your eye). Take out contacts during the duration of your stye, and consider throwing them out and starting with a new pair once the stye is gone.
A stye will often go away on its own, but if it’s not going away after a few days give us a call at (818) 907-1038 to schedule a consultation at our Encino location or (818) 346-8118 for our West Hills location. It has been my experience that if we treat a stye or chalazion immediately at onset with a combination of topical combination antibiotic and steroid drops as well as a mild oral antibiotic that well over 80% of chalazia will resolve without surgical intervention. The greatest error that patients make is failing to come in quickly at the onset of their stye or chalazion. If you wait two weeks or more, we have usually missed the opportunity for medical treatment to work and surgical incision and drainage in the office is then more likely to be needed.