My eyes keep developing styes which inflame - how do I prevent them in the first place

01:00 Mon 22nd Apr 2002 |

asks PHD:

A. A stye (also called a hordeolum) is a small abscess. It usually forms in a single sebaceous gland draining into an eyelash follicle.

Q. What causes it
It is caused by bacterial infection. As the infection works its way to the surface of your skin, a sac of pus usually appears and bursts within a week.

Symptoms are a small, red bump at the edge of your eyelid, and an unpleasant gritty feeling, as if something was in your eye.

Q. Are they infectious
Yes, very. Styes will spread easily, so avoid touching them. You should wash your hands frequently, and don't share a face cloth, towel or pillowcase with anyone else.

Q. How do I treat them
They usually go away on their own, but there are things you can do to help:

  • Gently remove the affected eyelash so that pus can drain away.
  • Never try to squeeze the stye or you will spread the infection.
  • Never rub your eyes while you have a stye.
  • Bathe your eye regularly - use an infusion of camomile, eyebright (euphrasia) or marigold (calendula) tea (you can use a freshly used and cooled camomile teabag as a compress).
  • Hot compresses applied for 15 minutes every couple of hours can help to drain the stye.

Q. Do I need to go to the doctor
Only if your stye keeps getting bigger, doesn't burst and drain after a week, interferes with your vision, you have more than one stye at a time, or your have frequently recurring styes.

Q. How can I prevent them
Recurring styes are an indication that your immune system needs a boost. Take a quality, high-dose vitamin and mineral supplement every day, and an echinacea supplement when you get a stye.

You could also cut down on sugar, coffee, alcohol and fried foods - all of which can lower your natural immunity.

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