A sty is a small and painful swelling on the edge of an eyelid. An external or even an internal (on the inner side of the eyelid) sty is just like a pimple. Sty occurs when an oil gland is clogged and then infected with bacteria. The most familiar cause of a sty is a bacterial infection, although sty may also be caused by blepharitis.
The sty infection is caused by staphylococcus bacteria that live harmlessly on your skin and inside your nose. Staphylococcus bacteria cause a sty when they get into the skin tissue through a small scratch, or get into the eyes through the edge of eyelids.
Most sties get better by themselves within several days, only race cases of sty takes a couple of weeks to heal. As the sty is growing, you will most likely feel itchy on the infected area. And before it heals, the sty is going to pop. It may be a little gross, but letting the pus out of your sty is the only way that your eye bump is going to heal.
So, what to do if your sty is about to pop?
Touch It Only With Clean Hands
Do not rub your infected eyelid with dirty hands. Dirty hands are infested with hundreds or thousands of bacteria and they will transfer the dirt and bacteria to your infected eyelid. This could make your sty even worse. Before touching your sty or the area of your face, clean your hands with hand wash products. It is recommended to use an anti-bacterial hand wash product rather than just regular soap. Or, you can also simply wash your hands with warm water. Only a few bacteria can survive upon contact with warm water.
Apply Heat to Your Sty
Applying heat to your sty helps to reduce swelling, pain and also the redness. Get a bowl of warm water, put a hand towel in it, and put the towel in the infected area for a couple of minutes. Repeat it when the towel is getting cold.
Got no hand towel at home? You can also use a bag instead. Put a tea bag into a cup or bowl and pour warm water into it. Squeeze the tea bag out to remove excessive water. Put this warm and moist tea bag to the infected area for a couple of minutes. You can do this a couple of times a day.
Do not Squeeze Your Sty Even If It Feels Uncomfortable
Having a sty is uncomfortable, but squeezing a sty may cause a serious infection. The pus will spread to other areas. It means that you’re spreading the infection. Just let your sty get better by itself or see your doctor and let him prescribe a special medication and treatment
Do not Poke Your Sty with a Needle
A sty will heal soon after the pus goes away. And several patients think that poking their sty with a needle will help them to remove the pus inside it easily. For your own good, do not attempt this idea. Instead of getting better, your sty may get even worse. Poking a sty with a needle is the same as squeezing it with your hands. It will spread the pus and spread the infection. Moreover, a needle has a pointed end, which may hurt your eyelids or even your eyeball. The risk is just not worth it.
Do Not Put Any Makeup Over Your Sty
It is okay to feel uncomfortable to have sty. But it is also a really common condition. It is not a shame at all. So, do not try to cover your sty with any cosmetic products. It may improve your appearance. But, on a serious note, it will only worsen your condition.
Makeup not only will postpone your sty’s healing process, but it also will give a serious irritation. Applying makeup over your sty with makeup brushes or sponges may also transfer the bacteria from those things to your infected area. It is also important to remove contact lenses from your eyes.
Instead of covering your sty with makeup, try glasses.
Take Painkillers to Reduce the Pain
If the pain of your sty is too disturbing that it keeps you from doing your normal daily activities, you can ask your eye doctor to prescribe a medication to relieve the pain. Your doctor will likely give you painkillers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or mefenamic acid.
If you have gastritis, take acetaminophen instead. Be sure to follow the prescribed instruction from your doctor so that you are consuming the medicine in the right dosage.
See Your Doctor If The Sty Is Getting Worse
Sty is generally not a serious condition, as they will heal on its own. But in some rare cases, in particular internal sties need a special treatment from doctors. Your eye doctor may prescribe an antibiotic cream for the infected area.
When to See the Eye Doctor?
These symptoms may be a serious sign for you to contact your doctor to seek for medical advice and professional treatment:
- Your sty is getting larger. You have to measure your sty every day to know its size. When it your eyelids gets unbearably heavy or the size of your sty starts to bother your vision, it is time to see your doctor.
- Your sty gives you a more serious pain. When it happens, see your doctor to get painkillers prescribed.
- The heat from warm teabags or warm towel hasn’t helped within two days. The heat from warm teabags or warm towel usually will help you to reduce the swelling and the redness caused by your sty. If it has no effect within two days, consult to your doctor to get medication prescribed.
- Your sty still gives you a lump even the redness and pain are gone. It may be a sign of complication. Contact your doctor to know for sure.