A sty is a red, tender bump on the eyelid and it can make the lid swell giving it a itchy feeling. Sties are normally smaller than a pebble, but the discomfort and swelling tend to make them feel huge.
A sty appears when an oil gland at the base of an eyelash becomes clogged. Over a few days, a sty usually comes to a head like a pimple and drains on its own. Sometimes a sty will persist for weeks without coming to a head. In these cases, a medical provider may choose to open and drain the sty. Good hygiene can help keep hair follicles from becoming clogged and forming sties.
Growths on the eyelid that are not red and painful are usually cysts, rather than sties. Although any unusual lump or growth should be checked by a medical provider, most eyelid cysts are harmless and do not need to be removed.
An eyelid sometimes becomes swollen for no apparent reason. This is usually caused by something in the air that irritates the eyelid or causes an allergic reaction. It is almost never a dangerous condition. Occasional crusting on the eyelid is also fairly common. Crusting appears when irritation or allergy causes fluid to leak from small blood vessels. The fluid then dries much like a scab on a cut. Eyelid crusting can usually be treated with self-care.
Hot compresses will help a sty come to a head and drain. Place a clean washcloth in water as hot as you can stand it without burning yourself. Wring out the cloth and place it on your eye for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat three or four times a day.
If pus discharges on its own or during the self-care process, carefully clean the entire area.
Concerns for Children
A childís skin is much more sensitive to heat than is an adultís. Use lukewarm compresses instead of hot ones to treat a childís sty. Allow the child to test the temperature of the compress before you apply it.
Signs and Symptoms
Lump on eyelid that isnít painful.
Sty persists and remains painful for a week or more.
New vision changes.
Red, swollen, itchy lump on eyelid.
Swelling on surface of eyelid.
Apply cold, moist compresses to your eyes for 20 minutes. Repeat several times a day.
As much as possible, avoid substances in the air that may cause irritation or allergic reactions in the eyes.
Avoid wearing contact lenses while you have symptoms of crusting or swelling.