Your eye can develop styes, bumps, and blemishes. For example, a stye is a small, painful lump that can pop up inside or outside your eyelid. It may look like a pimple at the base of your eyelashes. Styes under the eyelid may be less noticeable at first. But both can make your eyelid red, swollen, and tender.
It’s a bump on the eyelid that grows when an oil gland gets clogged. Unlike a stye, it’s usually painless and feels rubbery.
Eye: What Causes A Stye?
The problem is bacteria. It infects an oil gland inside the eyelid or the hair follicle of an eyelash. Those germs can come from anything that touches or rubs your eyes, like your hands or eye makeup. You may tend to get more styes during allergy season when eyes get itchy. You’re also more likely to get them if you have blepharitis, a type of inflammation around the edges of your eyelids.
Eye: What Causes a Chalazion?
When glands around the eyelids make oil that’s too thick or their openings get blocked, oil builds up and inflames the area, causing a lump. Usually your doctor can’t tell exactly what caused it, though certain skin types and conditions like blepharitis may make them more common. Sometimes styes inside the eyelid can turn into chalazia.
Eye: How To Tell Stye From Chalazion
It can be hard to tell, but there are differences. In general, a stye is infected and a chalazion is not. Infection can cause a small “pus spot” at the tip of a stye that looks like a pimple. It can make your eye painful, crusty, scratchy, watery, and more sensitive to light. It may even make your whole eyelid swell. A chalazion usually doesn’t hurt and may make the eyelid swell early on. But you may not even notice it at first.
Eye: Don’t Touch Your Stye
A stye looks very much like a pimple. That may tempt you to squeeze it until it pops. Don’t do it as it can spread the infection to your eyelid. Just leave the area alone. Both styes and chalazia usually go away by themselves in a few days or weeks.
Soak a clean washcloth in hot water and put it on your eyelid for 10-15 minutes at a time, 3-5 times a day. This can help soften and unclog a chalazion or stye. If it’s a chalazion, you can gently massage the area with your finger to help it along. Just make sure your hands are clean. A daily warm compress also may help prevent styes or chalazia if you get them regularly.
Eye: When To See A Doctor
Most styes and chalazia go away on their own and don’t need treatment. But get your eye checked if it doesn’t start to get better within a few days, it grows really fast, or starts to bleed or affect your vision. Also, if it starts to spread to the white of your eye or you see redness in your cheeks, see your doctor ASAP. Those could be signs of a spreading infection.
Hands often carry germs that can get in your eye and cause a chalazion or stye. Keep them clean with soap and warm water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you can’t get to a sink. It’s tempting to rub your eyes when they’re itchy. Try to leave them alone. Think about using allergy medication to help with the itch.