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Styes and Dry Eye Symptoms

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Wondering what that painful red pimple-like bump on your eyelid is? Optometrists call it a stye. It occurs when the important oil-producing glands on the inside of your eyelids, known as the meibomian glands, get clogged. When this happens, bacteria begins to build up, eventually causing an infection and forming a stye.

Factors that may result in the formation of a stye include:

  • Blepharitis
  • Ocular rosacea (or rosacea of your face)
  • Meibomian gland dysfunction
  • Poor eye hygiene (not taking out contacts at night, not washing off makeup before bed, etc.)
  • Changes in hormones (because of medicines, menopause, etc.)

Along with styes, these same factors often cause significant dry eye symptoms due to the lack of oil from the meibomian glands, allowing the tears on the eye to evaporate too quickly. These symptoms may include red, dry, itchy, gritty-feeling or watery eyes.

To find out more about styes and dry eye syndrome, and how to prevent or treat symptoms of both, speak to your eye doctor today!

Q&A

Are styes contagious?

Styes are not contagious. However, small amounts of bacteria can still be spread on linens and clothing, which is why it’s important to wash these and similar items often if you have a stye. Unless applying a warm compress or otherwise cleaning your eyelashes, you shouldn’t touch your stye with your hands.

Will styes pop on their own?

In most cases, styes will eventually pop or drain on their own. This usually happens within a few days, but can be sped up by proper cleaning of the affected area. If your stye doesn’t clear up on its own, don’t try to drain it yourself. This can cause spread of bacteria and scarring. Make an appointment with your eye doctor to have it drained in-office.