A stye (or sty) is an eye infection that causes a red bump to form at the edge of the eyelid or on the inside of the eyelid in an oil gland. The inflammation is an immune response to a bacterial infection that can be caused by ingrown hair, dead skin cells, dirt, or when oil glands are clogged with makeup.

Stye eye is associated with the bacteria staphylococcus, and although the infection is uncomfortable, it is fairly easy to treat. The swollen lump resembles a boil or pimple and the external stye can turn yellow within a week of infection, releasing the puss as it heals.

What Causes Eye Stye?

Most cases of eye stye are caused by staphylococcal bacteria which can be naturally found within the nose and are easily transferred to the eye through touch. When infection occurs, bacteria causes inflammation inside a clogged oil gland which in turn prevents oil from draining through the ducts and the eye becomes inflamed.

These are the most common habitual causes of styes:

Rubbing eyes

If you’ve had a stye on the eyelid in the past, there is also an increasing chance of re-infection. However, this is only one of many possible causes. Lifestyles of young living such as sharing clothes with individuals who have had styes in the past might also be the cause of the infection  especially if washcloths or face towels are shared.

A stye can be triggered by blepharitis, an eye infection that causes inflammation of the eyelid. This is sometimes a complication of a skin condition known as rosacea that only affects facial skin.

Stye Symptoms And Treatment

Patients with eye stye will experience painful swelling that can cause the eye to become swollen and produce tears. Although uncommon, it is possible to have styes on both eyes at the same time or more than one stye in one eye. 

The most common stye symptoms are:

Sie view of the badly swollen upper eyelid of a man with his eye with pus and a thick discharge oozing through his closed eyelids

If inflammation persists for more than a week, individuals are encouraged to consult a doctor. The same applies if vision becomes blurry or the pain and swelling extend to other parts of the face. Stye treatment normally involves some basic hygiene practices. However, a doctor may prescribe an antibiotic ointment for stye infection if an individual experiences severe symptoms. 

To prevent infection, follow these tips:

1. Always wash your hands before touching your face

Use soap and flowing water or clean your hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer multiple times during the day. To keep your eyes clear and free of infection, keep your hands away from your face.

2. Use recommended cosmetic products

Avoid using makeup products close to their expiry date to prevent the risk of infection and don’t share these products with friends or family members either. Using high quality makeup products may also prevent infection - but you can still be infected if you left it overnight.

3. Clean your contact lenses

Wash hands before applying and removing contact lenses. Also, make sure to disinfect your lenses before putting them back on.

Woman with contact lens on finger, healthcare concept
4. Warm compress reduces chances of infection

Individuals who have had a stye in the past will find that a warm compress reduces the chances of re-infection.

5. Avoid sugary foods

Sugar and starch can increase the risk of eye infection in addition to numerous other ailments. Keep your sugar and starch consumption at the daily recommended caloric value and stay hydrated.

Home Remedies For Stye Eye

Food and proper nutrition can strengthen the body’s ability to ward off stye inside the eyelid. The following foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants; all of which can reduce the pain associated with the swelling and prevent eye infections. In addition, applying stye essential oils to your face before going to bed may speed up healing and serve as a deterrent to the bacterium that causes stye.

Foods that help prevent stye:

food with vitamin c

Other home treatments for stye:

Individuals with allergies, hay fever, or skin infections have an increased chance of getting styes; however, they can prevent infection by practicing a healthy diet,  basic hygiene practices and using essential oils in bathwater.