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How do whiteheads and stys differ?

I've been having a lot of eye pain since I woke up this morning, which is strange. I'm over 30 and I've never had trouble with my eyes before. But I found this thing on my eyelid that looks kind of like a whitehead, and I read online about 'stys'. What is the difference between stys and whiteheads, or are they the same?
There are several different causes of swollen spots on the eyes. Some of these do require medical evaluation and treatment. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care doctor. Whiteheads are a type of acne caused when a skin pore becomes clogged with dead skin debris and then natural skin oils, bacteria, and immune cells back up behind the blockage forming a pus like substance. Whiteheads rarely form on the eyelids. On the other hand, a stye is a infection of an oil gland on the eyelid. These often look like whitehead in that they have some white material within them. However, they are usually much more reddened, swollen, and painful than whiteheads, as it sounds like you are describing. The treatment of styes is often straightforward. Good skin hygiene and avoiding squeezing the area are important. It is also important not to apply eye makeup to the area. Cloth compresses can help to remove the swelling and draw out the fluid. If these measures do not work, occasionally your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an office visit with your primary care doctor if symptoms persist might be advised.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.

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