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What Are Styes?

What Are Styes?

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Advisory by Grace Wang Su Leng, Guardian Pharmacist

What is a stye?
A stye (or sty) refers to the painful and tender lump which usually appears on the base of an eyelash (external) or on the inside of the eyelid (internal).

What causes styes?
Styes commonly arise from an infection caused by the Staphylococcus bacteria, which results from the blockage of the glands in the eyelid that secrete sebum, an oily substance. This will lead to the appearance of a pimple-like bump filled with pus, which is known as a stye.

How can styes be treated?
Styes are usually self-limiting, and will get better within a couple of weeks without any treatment. Do not burst the stye yourself; apply a warm compress over the affected eye to speed up the recovery process. Painkillers obtained from the pharmacy may be used to ease the pain which may accompany the stye. It is also important to keep the area around the eye clean to prevent crusting, especially when the stye bursts. Eyelid hygiene plays an essential role in recurrent styes. Keep the eyelids clean by using eyelid wipes or mild soaps on closed eyelids to remove any dead skin cells or dirt if you are prone to styes.

When should a doctor be consulted?
Consult your doctor if your vision is affected or if you experience severe pain or swelling that shuts the eye, even after using warm compresses for a few days. Additionally, the presence of high fevers, chills, swollen lymph nodes, or styes that bleed should also warrant medical attention as well.

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