Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What is the cause of styes?"
My son get styes on his eyes a lot
Thank you for your question regarding styes. Styes, also known as hordeolums, are basically small pimples that can form along the eye near the margins of the eyelid. They are caused by bacterial infection, usually by a bacteria known as staphylococcus, of the small oil glands around your eye. This leads to inflammation which causes the red, swollen, bump that can be present either on the outside of the eye, or sometimes within the eyelid as well. Chalazions are another type of red bump that can form on the eye. They look very similar in appearance to styes but usually form further away from the eyelid margin. They are caused by blocked oil glands, but are usually not due to infection. Styes can be painful, but are generally harmless. They usually resolve on their own by natural opening and drainage. However sometimes they might be too big or in a location within the inside if the eyelid that might require a doctor to intervene either with antibiotics or by incising and draining the stye manually. You should never attempt to pop the stye as you might with a pimple. This can result in spread of the bacteria to other nearby tissue and become a bigger problem. Warm compresses are also beneficial in helping to decrease the size of the stye and promote faster resolution. Good hygiene is important in preventing future styes from forming. Please talk to your ophthalmologist about additional methods that would be relevant to your son.
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