“What’s this lump on my eyelid?”
Styes are some of the more common conditions we see at MVO. They result from a blockage or infection of one or more oil glands within your eyelid, and may become painful, red and tender to the touch. Depending on the type and cause of the stye, treatments can vary. Here are some treatment options that are used to get rid of styes:
· Hot compresses – repeatedly dip a washcloth in a basin of warm water and apply localized mild pressure to the affected area of the eyelid (4 times per day for 10-15 min. each)
· Antibiotic – an oral or eyedrop-form may be used depending on the type of stye and whether it is discharging infected material into your eye. Drops don’t usually help most styes that are completely internally located within the eyelid.
· IPL “Intense Pulsed Light” Therapy – once the inflammation has resolved it may leave a small lump within the eyelid that is not sore or painful to the touch (referred to as a “chalazion”). IPL involves the application of light energy directly over the affected area and has been shown to be an effective treatment for certain types of chalazia. We now offer IPL Treatment at MVO.
· Surgery or Injections – a last-resort, but can be an option for styes that are stubborn to other more conservative forms of treatment.
How do you avoid getting a stye in the first place? Some people are more likely to develop these than others, but there are things you can do to decrease the chances of this happening to you:
· Clean your eyelids regularly – the eyelashes are a place where bacteria often accumulates. Cleaning the lashes on a daily basis reduces the buildup which lessens the risk of an infection of the oil glands in your eyelids (a common cause of styes).
· Replace makeup regularly – another source for bacterial growth is old makeup, particularly oil-based products such as mascara. Discard and replace mascara within 2 to 3 months of opening.
· Treat dry eye disease – the inflammatory changes that happen along with certain types of dry eye disease can increase the chances of a stye forming. Part of your treatment may involve the daily use of warm compresses or special “heat masks” which keeps the oils healthy within the glands of the eyelid.
· Take a good quality Omega 3 supplement – Omega 3 oils are a great way to combat inflammation within your body in a natural way. Our doctors recommend them for dry eye disease as well as stye prevention.
Always book an appointment with one of our optometrists if you notice anything unusual about your eyes before implementing any home remedies. What appears to be a simple stye may actually be a more serious condition. Remember that Alberta Health Care covers visits to optometrists for acute health conditions such as eye injuries, infections and inflammations.