Mark D. Weingarten, M.D.
Hours: Monday through Friday with evening and Saturday morning appointments also available
A sty is an inflammation of an eyelash follicle that forms at the edge of the eyelid. Each eyelash follicle has a sebaceous gland that secretes oil to keep the skin of the eyelids soft and pliable. Occasionally a bacterial infection affects a sebaceous gland and spreads to the eyelash follicle. The sty abscess begins with pain, redness, and swelling and gradually forms a yellow spot or head in the center. In some cases, multiple sties may form, causing intense pain.
Sties can be treated by applying a warm, clean, moist cloth to the affected eye for about ten minutes, four times a day. The abscess should not be squeezed, as this will spread the infection. If the sty fails to go away after a couple of days, you should contact your physician. He or she can prescribe antibiotic, or if necessary, use a lancet to open the sty and allow it to drain. Once the pus is discharged, the pain should subside.