A stye is a benign eyelid cyst that is generally painless. This eye condition can occur at any age and is often treated at home. However, it's essential to consult a specialist for a comprehensive eye exam to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. Find out more about styes, including their causes, symptoms and treatment methods.

What is a stye?

A stye is caused by an obstruction of the meibomius gland, located along the upper and lower eyelids, just behind the eyelashes. These glands produce an oily substance called meibum, which helps limit the evaporation of tear fluid in contact with the air. Stye occurs when one of these glands becomes blocked, resulting in the formation of a small nodule at the edge of the eyelid. In most cases, a stye is benign and painless, although its presence can be uncomfortable. In some cases, however, it can become infected and painful and accompanied by edema, redness, tearing, and visual blurring. 

How Long Does a Stye Last?

The lifespan of a stye varies from a few weeks to around two months. Although applying warm compresses can often improve the condition, it is recommended to consult an eye care professional in case of pain for an accurate diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

Causes of stye

The leading cause of stye formation is meibum thickening, which can obstruct one or more meibomian glands per eyelid. Fatigue and insufficient rest can also contribute to this problem, as they affect the functioning of the eyes and meibomius glands. In addition, certain medical conditions, such as meibomian gland dysfunction, blepharitis, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and acne rosacea, can increase the risk of stye formation. Medical follow-up is recommended in cases of frequent recurrence to detect any underlying disorders. 

Stye symptoms

Stye usually appears as a small nodule or swelling in the eyelid, sometimes accompanied by discomfort, tearing and blurred vision. In case of infection, the eyelid may become red, painful and warm.

Stye treatment

Treatment of a stye, which is generally benign and painless, mainly involves the application of warm compresses. Applied for 5-10 minutes, 2-3 times daily, these compresses can speed healing and relieve symptoms. Drain or drug treatment may be necessary in the case of persistent or infected stye. It is also advisable to refrain from wearing make-up or contact lenses for the duration of the treatment. 

Please do not hesitate to contact an IRIS optometrist or visit your nearest store for any questions or concerns.