Styes on the Eyes | Health Eagle

Styes on the Eyes

by Tom Seman MD FAAP January 26th, 2024 | Children's Health, Pediatrician on Call
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My son gets styes on his eyes frequently. Could there be an underlying condition, or is this something that I really shouldn’t worry a lot about? Also, is there anything special I can do to treat them at home?

They say that eyes are the windows to the soul. Unfortunately something so important that is used continuously is often prone to minor problems. One of the most common is a stye. A stye, also known as a hordeolum (pronounced “hor-dee-OH-lum”), is a red sore lump near the edge of the eyelid due to an infection of the eyelash follicle. Sometimes the infection can be farther inside or under the eyelid in one of the oil, known as moeiboman, gland of the eyelid. Since this is an infection the symptoms often develop over a few days. The eyelid redness and tenderness can also lead to irritation and a scratchy feeling in the eye. Since this is a condition related to an infection, more symptoms of a stye include:  a small white head in the center of the red bump along the edge of the eyelid, sensitivity to light, crusting along the eyelid margin, and/or tearing.

This type of infection is a mild one, and the treatment is often easily taken care of at home. This usually involves hot packs to the eyelids several times a day, typically 3 or 4 days until the red bump creates a white head (pus) that open and drains on its own. Occasionally the stye gets more painful, and the eyelid may become more swollen. Should this occur an appointment to your doctor is recommended. The condition now may require either an antibiotic ointment applied to the eye or possibly oral antibiotics.

What are the risks that increase the chance of having a stye? These include a past history of a stye, certain skin conditions such as seborrhea or medical conditions such as diabetes. Other issues, more often seen in older children, involve using old eye cosmetics or not washing them off at night resulting in irritation of the skin near the eye. Usually there is no concern about it. Having a stye is not serious. However, should a child have frequent styes he/she should be evaluated by a pediatric ophthalmologist (MD eye doctor).

For further information visit the site of the American Ophthalmology Association at https://www.aao.org/

Good Luck,

Dr. Tom

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.