Have you discovered an annoying pimple on the edge of your eyelid? It could be a stye. But rest assured, this eye condition is very common and has no serious consequences for your eye health. What is a stye? How do you treat it? Here are our tips to reduce the symptoms as effectively as possible.

What is a stye?

A stye is similar to a small red pimple that appears at the edge of the upper or lower eyelid. The word "stye" comes from the Latin word hordeolum, which can be loosely translated as "barley seed." This small pimple gives the impression that a grain of sand has become lodged in your eye.

A stye forms at the base of the eyelashes and creates a small bump. It is an infection of a sebaceous gland that causes some pus to form, creating a bulge and sometimes inflammation. Styes are not serious for the eyes and not contagious. This common eye infection is, therefore, benign and resolves itself in a short period of time.

However, sometimes a stye can cause discomfort or pain. You may experience a gritty sensation in the eye or have a swollen eyelid. In addition, a stye may be accompanied by symptoms of watery eyes and sensitivity to light.

Styes are also sometimes confused with chalazion. A chalazion has the same characteristics as a stye. It is an inflammation of a meibomian gland. Meibomian glands are responsible for producing an oily substance that helps keep your eyes hydrated. However, chalazion lasts longer than a stye and does not usually cause discomfort or pain.

What causes a stye?

Styes have an infectious, bacterial origin. They form when bacteria become lodged in the follicles of the eye where the eyelash roots are located. The bacteria can be transferred to your eyes when you rub them. The blocked follicles swell up due to the infection and pus formation.

It is common to hear that fatigue causes styes. It is true that when your body is tired or stressed for long periods, it tends to weaken your immune system. This makes it more difficult for your immune system to defend itself against bacteria. To prevent the appearance of a stye, it is therefore recommended to have a healthy lifestyle.

How long does a stye last?

This type of eye infection usually lasts a few days to a week. In the case of a chalazion, the infection can last from 4 to 8 weeks.

Is there a treatment for a stye?

Antibiotics and ointments are not required to treat styes. Antibiotic eye drops have not yet been proven effective in treating styes. When a stye persists beyond 7 days, we recommend you make an appointment to see an optometrist.

Natural treatment of styes is still the most effective way to promote healing and reduce the symptoms of infection. If you wear makeup or contact lenses, we recommend that you remove them as soon as possible. Avoid using them until your stye is completely gone. And if you use reusable contact lenses, it is best to throw them away, as they will have been in contact with the bacteria.

Start your home treatment by applying a warm compress to your affected eye. Keep the compress on your eye for about ten minutes and repeat 3 times daily. Do not hesitate to use sterile gauze as a compress. Sterilize the water by boiling it for 1 minute. Apply the gauze when the temperature is tolerable to the touch. You must keep your eye closed when you apply the compress.

And finally, note that it is useless to try to pierce a stye as this could make your situation worse.