If you see a tender, red boil inside or outside your eyelid, you perhaps have an infection called stye. The real cause behind styes is the bacterium called staphylococcal, which transits from the skin to the oil glands lining your eyelids.
Staphylococcal bacteria usually exists on the eye’s or nose’s skin without causing any harm. It’s only when it gets trapped amongst dead skin cells under your eyelashes that it causes stye breakouts.
In most cases, a stye begins to appear as a small pimple or boil close to an eyelash. Styes can occur in one eye at a time. But there have been cases when multiple styes have occurred in the same eye. Styes can be of two types, which are as follows:
- Chalazion: This stye occurs due to clogging of the meibomian gland, which is basically an oil gland. These glands line each eyelid and their body is positioned inside the eyelid. The opening of these glands is located at the eyelid’s rim, on the anterior side of your eyelashes. Certain disorders cause the meibomian glands (acne rosacea and meibomian gland dysfunction) to release thick secretions, which lead to the obstruction of the gland.
- Hordeolum: This stye occurs due to clogging of one of the many sweat glands lining the eyelids and the base of your eyelashes. It can also occur when your sebaceous glands, which secrete sebum, gets blocked. Hordeolum is generally abscess or pyogenic. The internal hordeolum usually occurs when there is an infection of the meibomian gland and is often accompanied by cellulitis.
Risk factors associated with styes
While the underlying cause of styes is the staphylococcal bacterium, it’s interesting to note how this bacteria can spread infection. The bacteria is found in the skin of the nose. It’s when an individual rubs his or her nose and touches his or her eyes with the same fingers that the bacterium gets entry into your eyelids.
If you wear contact lenses on a regular basis, then you stand a chance of having a stye breakout if you put them on without properly disinfecting your hand. The bacteria from your finger settles on the lenses, which when worn give the bacteria a free entryway to the inner lining of your eyelids. Accumulation of this bacteria on the edges of your eyelids leads to styes.
One of the most common risk factors associated with styes is the slow flow of the sebum produced by the sebaceous glands. Blepharitis, which is caused by the inflammation of the meibomian gland, is another cause of stye breakouts. Scar tissues and foreign substances (dust and makeup) often obstruct the opening of these glands, causing their secretions to flow sluggishly or not flow at all.
Although stye breakouts are common, they are harmless. The symptoms usually last for a few days and go away without medical attention. You can use warm compression at home to facilitate healing. It is only when the bump stays for more than a week that you might have to take antibiotics and painkillers or visit a professional.