Keep an Eye Out for the Hallmark Symptoms of a Stye

swollen eye

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  • An external stye usually starts as a small spot next to an eyelash before gradually turning into an inflamed, pus-filled bump that lasts for around three days. The pathophysiology of an internal stye is relatively the same, although its location prevents you from seeing it develop a “head”
  • Diagnosing a stye does not require any complicated laboratory tests or procedures. A general physician will simply examine the infected lid to identify the type of stye that you have and to locate its opening

It’s important to be aware of the common stye symptoms and how they usually progress, since this may help you determine if your eyelid is healing normally or becoming worse. Catching the symptoms early also allows you to manage a stye properly, which may help shorten its healing time or at least keep it from causing complications. Fortunately, the symptoms of this condition are easy to identify since they’re often visible and can be felt.

Common Warning Signs of a Stye

The symptoms of a stye may differ from one person to another. They may also vary according to the type of stye that you have. In general, an external stye is identified by the presence of a small, inflamed lump on the eyelid, whereas an internal stye is characterized by a diffused swelling of the lid.1 The other symptoms that are associated with both types of stye include:2

Pain on the affected area

Eye redness

Crusting of the eyelid edges due to eye discharge

Burning sensation

Excessive tear production

Gritty feeling inside the eye

Eye itch

Light sensitivity

Droopiness of the eye

Keep in mind, though, that styes do not just pop up out of the blue. An external stye usually starts as a small spot next to an eyelash before gradually turning into an inflamed, pus-filled bump that lasts for around three days. The pathophysiology of an internal stye is relatively the same, although its location prevents you from seeing it develop a “head.”3

When Do You Need to Consult a Physician Regarding Your Stye?

Since a stye is usually self-limiting and can be treated at home, you may be tempted to forego a visit to your doctor just to get it checked. You have to keep in mind, though, that there are instances wherein a stye does not heal on its own and may need to be drained by a doctor.

Knowing when to seek medical attention is crucial in preventing serious complications. Here are some of the signs that indicate it’s time to contact your physician:4,5

Your eye is swollen shut

The stye bleeds, increases in size and/or becomes more painful

The inflammation spreads to the eyeball and/or cheek

You develop vision problems

You get fever or chills

You experience persistent eye discharge or tearing

If the stye heals on its own but recurs frequently, then you should consult your doctor to verify if it’s a symptom of a chronic skin problem that you need to address.6,7

How Is a Stye Diagnosed?

Diagnosing a stye does not require any complicated laboratory tests or procedures. A general physician will simply examine the infected lid to identify the type of stye you have and to locate its opening. Your doctor may also look for scar tissues, foreign bodies and other signs of infection or trauma to the gland. It’s also important to check if the inflammation has spread to the area around the infected eyelid.

Be sure to tell your doctor if you’ve been getting recurrent bouts of styes or if your infected eye becomes too painful. For severe cases and internal styes that need to be drained, your general physician may refer you to an eye specialist.8

MORE ABOUT STYE

Stye: Introduction

What Is a Stye?

Stye Symptoms

Stye Causes

Stye Treatment

Stye Prevention

How to Get Rid of a Stye

Is a Stye Contagious?

How Long Do Styes Last?

Stye FAQ



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