A bacterial infection on the edge of the eyelid, affecting the hair follicle of an eyelash is called an eye sty. It looks much like a boil or a pimple. This infection leads to the hair follicles getting blocked and swollen, resulting in pain and itching. It usually spreads from one hair shaft to another, when you rub your eye to relieve the itching. A sty takes 3 to 7 days to develop. While it may block vision, it does not impair sight. The early symptoms of a sty are pain, inflammation of the eye or eyelid, difficulty in blinking, light sensitivity, blurred vision accompanied by redness of the eye. Normally, a sty begins as a small pimple. In the next few days, it gets filled with pus and consequently bursts and heals on its own as the pus drains out.
When you have a sty, it is almost impossible to resist the temptation to rub your eyes because the itching sensation is so strong. But rubbing can only cause more harm,
Try some of these techniques:
- Place a warm compress over the affected eye for 10-15 minutes four times a day for 2-3 days. You can use a clean cotton cloth or a gauze pad for the compress. As you get used to the warmth, you can wet the compress again with a little warmer water. The heat will help the sty ripen and rupture faster. Make sure you dispose the compress or wash it with hot water if you want to reuse it.
- You can soak the compress in a tea made from calendula flowers to give it some infection-fighting powers. Tea-tree oil also has bacteria-fighting properties. Take 3-5 drops of the oil and mix it in hot water, then soak the compress in it and place on the sty.
- Microwave a potato, cut it in two pieces, wrap it in a cloth and place it on the sty. It stays warm long enough so you can lie back and relax, but make sure you test the hot potato over another area of your skin to check whether you can tolerate the heat over your eyes.
- Try taking 200 mg of echinacea 3 or 4 times a day till the sty heals. It also has effective bacteria-fighting properties and boosts your immune system,.
- Eating a clove of garlic is also a good idea because it has wonderful anti-bacterial properties. Having it raw gives the best results, so grate it over a salad or mix it into a dressing.
- If you are excessively prone to sties, you need to take extra care in order to keep your eyes clean. Make sure you wash your eyes properly every morning. Maybe you could use some baby shampoo with warm water for washing your eye.
- Apply a warm compress to your eye every few days to prevent sties. It will prevent oil glands in the eyelid from becoming blocked.
- If you get sties frequently it could indicate a deficiency of vitamin A, so you might need to increase your intake of foods such as egg yokes, butter, and yellow, red, orange or dark green vegetables.