Do you have a tender bump forming on your eyelid? That big, red, puffy bump might look like a pimple, but it’s called a stye. Learn more about what causes a stye to form and how you can treat it below. 

How a Stye Forms

Your hands pick up germs and bacteria that can be easily transferred to the eye. Improper care of contact lenses and contaminated mascara or eyeliner can easily transfer that bacteria into the eye. Styes form when bacteria gets trapped inside oil glands or hair follicles on your eyelid, resulting in an infection. This causes pus and inflammation to form causing a reddish lump on the outer edge of your eyelid with a yellow spot on top, similar to a pimple. The stye might look bad but the pain is often worse. 

Treating a Stye

You should never try to squeeze or pop the stye on your own. This will only cause the infection to spread. In most instances, it will go away on its own if you let it breathe and avoid touching it. A warm compress can also be applied for 10 minutes four times a day to help draw out the pus and unclog the gland. Crusting around the bump is also common. You can easily remove any debris that starts to form by applying warm water with a cotton swab and gently removing it from the area.

When You Should See an Eye Doctor

As mentioned above, a stye will often clear up on its own and improve within a few days. If the stye doesn’t start to heal by the second week, you should book an appointment with your doctor. You should also seek medical care if there is an increase in the swelling or redness around the eyes as this is often a sign that the infection has spread. Styes can often clear up with a topical antibiotic, but if it persists, your doctor may decide to drain it by making a small incision in the stye.  

What You Should Do After the Stye Heals

Once a stye has occurred you will need to fully replace your contact lenses, contact solution and case. Not doing so will likely result in another stye soon after. The same goes for your eye makeup. Throw out any mascara or eyeliner that you have been using and replace it with a new one. 

How You Can Prevent a Stye from Forming 

There are a number of things you can do to prevent a stye from forming in the first place. The most important one is to avoid touching or rubbing your eyes. If you happen to wear contacts, you should make sure that you carefully wash your hands before handling your lenses. All necessary precautions to prevent contaminating the lens solution and case should also be taken on a daily basis. You should never sleep with your contacts in or reuse disposable lenses.

For those who wear makeup, it’s important to put the lid back on after each use and avoid sharing with others. Using someone else’s eye makeup, even just once, can put you at risk of infection. Mascara and eyeliner should also be thrown out every three to six months and replaced with a new one to prevent contamination.

Need to replace your contact lenses? Come see us at Laurier Optical for a new set.