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A stye is a painful inflammation of the eyelid, which can occur on the inside of the eyelid as well as on the edge of the eyelid or in the area of the eyelashes. In addition, a distinction is made between an inner and an outer grain of barley . Both forms show themselves differently and also have a slightly different course of the disease. The reason for this inflammation is an infection with bacteria. Such an infection is painful and is usually characterized by severe itching or burning and can be recognized by a small lump on the eyelid and a reddened eye even by laypeople. The inner styes are not recognizable through this knot on the eyelid - but then the eye is usually swollen and reddened. Styes can appear in different places and are treatable, although it cannot be ruled out that such an infection will occur again. Basic hygiene measures help to prevent a stye from appearing.
A stye is therefore caused by an infection with bacteria and is often caused by skin germs or by contamination of the eye. Therefore, styes occur much more frequently in children than in adults. A classic possibility for the emergence of such a stye is playing in a sandbox and then touching the eye. Parents should therefore make sure that children's hands are as clean as possible, and it is particularly important that hands are cleaned well after playing. Adults can also get stye and then have the same symptoms as children. Since barley grains are contagious, hygiene measures should be checked in the event of illness and it is strongly recommended to also use separate towels. Other causes of a stye are in many cases a weakened immune system, but diabetes mellitus also favors styes. However, as soon as barley grains appear more frequently or maybe even several are present at the same time, a doctor should definitely be consulted, since then something may have to be done against the bacteria present.
In terms of symptoms, the inner and outer stye must be distinguished from each other. In the case of an external stye, the disease usually begins with severe itching and reddening of the eye. A lump then forms on the edge of the eyelid, which can be very small at the beginning. This knot is filled with pus. In most cases, the lump bursts after a few days and the inflammation goes away. However, this is not always the case. With an internal stye, no lump is visible, but the entire eyelid may swell so much and be reddened that part of the eye is no longer visible. In many cases, the inflammation also subsides on its own. However, the inner stye is always to be taken a little more seriously, since the inflammation can spread more easily and may not heal quite as quickly. If the stye doesn't go away on its own, schedule a visit to an ophthalmologist immediately.
In many cases of a stye, the problem will resolve itself and the knot will pop open on its own. Then the pus can drain off and the inflammation subsides. If the inflammation spreads, however, the conjunctiva, the eye and also the orbit can be affected by the inflammation. If you have a fever or other signs of a more serious infection, you should also see an ophthalmologist immediately. However, there is an opportunity to let the infection heal a little faster and suffer less from the symptoms. The first rule with a stye is never rub your eye with your fingers - no matter how itchy the eye! This makes the infection worse and allows it to spread quickly. Heat usually helps a stye to heal faster because the corn then ripens faster and the pus drains out faster. Therefore, irradiating the eye with red light is always a good idea for such a disease. Eye drops or ointments containing antibiotics can also heal faster. In the case of an internal stye, antibiotics in tablet form can sometimes also help. This must then be prescribed by the ophthalmologist. So that the inflammation does not spread further, especially with an inner stye, such medication should be taken quickly and a visit to an ophthalmologist should not be postponed. With both types of styes, however, it can also happen that the pus does not drain by itself. In such a case, the doctor must open this stye with a prick under local anesthesia. Under no circumstances should you try something like this yourself, as there is a risk of serious injury or the spread of the infection!
In most cases, a stye is a mild disease that is painful, but heals on its own. However, styes should be closely monitored and a doctor should always be consulted if the symptoms are severe or occur frequently. Various ointments and red light irradiation can help a stye ripen faster and cause it to burst. Once the pus has drained, the symptoms usually subside quite quickly. Barley grains can be caused by an infection, various germs or a weak immune system. Diabetes mellitus also favors a disease of a stye.
(Image source: Bluec, Andre Riemann)