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Styes and Its Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Infections of eyelash roots, similar to skin infections elsewhere.

Causes of Styes

Eyelash roots are a convenient entrance site for bacteria, as are any hair-bearing parts of the body. The bacteria proliferate into a small abscess called a stye, which people often get as a result of rubbing at their irritated eyelids.

Symptoms of Styes

The base of one eyelash feels uncomfortable. In a few hours it swells into a visible abscess with a yellow head on it; the lid is often a little swollen, too.

Treatment of Styes

Pull out the eyelash to allow the pus to drain. Antibiotic eye drops or eye ointment help deal with the infection, as does irrigating the eye with salty water. The great majority of styes
settle with this treatment within three to five days. Only very occasionally does the infection spread deeper within the eyelid, causing greater swelling. In these cases an antibiotic by mouth is required.


Are styes infectious?

They are only mildly infectious and much less so than conjunctivitis. Thorough and regular handwashing greatly reduces the risk of spreading the infection.

Complementary Treatment

Warning: Never use aromatherapy oils near the eyes. Bach flower remedies – try a dilution of crab apple and Rescue Remedy in water, or apply Rescue Remedy to the affected area as a cream. Other therapies to try: homeopathy; chakra balancing; naturopathy.

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