I have no history of stye but the second time in three months, I am having the trouble. It is very painful and heavily noticeable. What is the treatment for the stye? How do I ensure it never comes back? Lindah, 26.
Stye occurs due to infection of the eye lids externally or internally by microbes called staphylococci. These microbes are normally present in the inner lining of nose and can be passed over the eyes through contaminated hands, i.e touching the nose or nasal secretions, then rubbing the eyes with it.
The infection can occur in hair follicles of eye lids or adjacent oil producing glands. Once started it forms a small red painful lump over the site infected. If big in size or depending on location it can affect vision as well.
Poor hygiene, not washing the eye make-up before sleeping, sharing brushes and other tools for eye make up, stress, dryness due to dehydration, are some of the risk factors which can cause stye which can recur if risk factors are present. Reduced vision is also said to predispose to recurrent stye. This is because when one’s vision is not clear, they tends to rub the eyes to see better, thus causing infection through microbes present on hands.
As for any other infection, immune depressed conditions like diabetes, HIV infection, renal failure, also increase susceptibility to develop recurrent stye. A stye can be treated well with antibiotic and anti inflammatory therapy. Local applications of antibiotic ointments are also effective but ointment should be applied softly with clean hands, tip of the ointment tube should not touch the surface of the stye. Hot fomentation with soft cotton pads soaked in luke warm water also help in healing and reducing pain. If it is very big or disturbing, a surgical excision can help cure it.
Preventive measures include improving hand and eye hygiene. Eyes should never be touched with unclean hands. If one is using contact lenses or eye make up, it is important to maintain good cleanliness. while using it. In case of even slightly reduced vision, use of suitable eye glasses prevents recurrent infection causing stye.
Use of adequate amount of green vegetables, whole grains and nuts provides necessary nutrients to strengthen eyes and would help in preventing infections.