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A sty is a condition of the eyelids in which one of the follicles becomes infected. The eyelashes grow from with the follicles of the eyelids. A sty is also commonly referred to as a stye and is also known as a hordeolum.
A sty is usually caused by an eyelash follicle infection due to the bacterium staphylococcus, but other bacteria may cause the infection as well. People at risk for developing a sty include those with chronic blepharitis, which causes ongoing inflammation of the eyelid. Touching the eyes or eyelids with unwashed hands, which can transfer bacteria to the eyelash follicles, can also lead to a sty. Not cleaning contact lenses properly and using outdated cosmetics or sharing them with another person can also result in the develoment of a sty.
The symptoms of a sty include redness and swelling on the edge of the eyelid at the base of the eyelash as the infection grows and pus forms within the follicle. This results in tenderness or pain of the affected eyelid. The puss of a sty gradually accumulates enough to form a white head of pus. The white head eventually bursts and drains, relieving the pain and inflammation of the eyelid. This usually occurs within about a week.
Complications of a sty include a recurrence of the sty and the develoment of multiple stys on the eyelid. To learn more about other important symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of sty.
Diagnosing a sty begins with taking a thorough personal medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination that includes an eye and eyelid examination.
A sty can generally be diagnosed by visual examination. A culture and sensitivity test may be performed on pus draining from the sty. This involves taking a sample of the discharge, growing it in a laboratory, and examining it to determine the type of bacteria that is causing the follicle infection. A culture and sensitivity can also determine the most effective antibiotic to treat the sty. A physician may need to make a small incision in the sty to gather some of the drainage.
A thorough eye examination may also be performed if there is any concern about the eye itself or if there are symptoms such as tearing. This will include testing pupil response to light, visual acuity or sharpness of vision, checking the sharpness of peripheral vision, and testing the pressure inside the eye. The outer eye may be examined using an instrument called a slit lamp, and the inner eye is examined using an instrument call an ophthalmoscope. Another test that may be performed involves temporarily staining the eye with a special eye drop to rule out a corneal ulcer of the eye. This may be done if there is pain in the eye or a recent history of eye injury.
A diagnosis of sty may be missed or delayed because symptoms can be similar to symptoms of other diseases or conditions, such as blepharitis and chalazion. To learn more about diseases and conditions that can mimic sty, refer to misdiagnosis of sty.
With proper diagnosis and treatment, the prognosis for people with a sty is excellent in most cases. Treatment includes good eyelid hygiene to prevent spread of the infection and the formation of another sty. Warm moist compresses will help to draw out the pus into a white head faster so it can rupture and drain. In more serious cases, topical medication for the eyelids and eye drops are prescribed. Minor surgery may be required in some cases. For more details on treatment plans, refer to treatment of sty. ...more »
A sty forms due to an infection of the follicle of the eyelid. The follicles are the tiny holes from which the eyelashes grow. A sty is usually caused by an infection of the bacterium staphylococcus, but other bacteria may cause the infection as well.
The infectious process within the eyelash follicle leads to the formation of pus and the typical symptoms of a sty. ...more symptoms »
With a good, consistent treatment plan, the prognosis for most cases of a sty is good with minimal risk of complications, such as the spread of bacterial infection and the development of multiple stys.
Treatment of sty begins with prevention. The best way to prevent a sty is to not to touch the eyes unless the hands have been washed for at least 15 seconds ...more treatments »
A diagnosis of sty may be delayed or missed because symptoms of sty can be similar to symptoms of other diseases and conditions. These include chalazion, blepharitis, xanthelasma, and papilloma. ...more misdiagnosis »
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Purulent infection of one of the sebaceous glands of Zeis along the eyelid margin (external) or of the meibomian gland on the conjunctival side of the eyelid (internal). - (Source - Diseases Database)
An infection of the sebaceous gland of the eyelid - (Source - WordNet 2.1)
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