DESCRIPTIONA sty is a small abscess of hair-follicle glands in the eyelid. The eyelid, eyelashes, and conjunctiva (white of the eye) are involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Surgery to drain the abscess (sometimes).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSRedness, swelling, warmth, tenderness, or pain on the edge of the top or bottom eyelid. The head of the sty is usually on the outside, but it may be on the underside of the lid.
Increased tear production.
Sensitivity to bright light.
A gritty feeling in the child's eye.
Bacterial infection (usually staphylococcal). The infection may be limited to the child's eyelid or may have spread from somewhere else in the body. A sty may result from general poor health or may occasionally indicate a need for glasses.
Illness that has lowered resistance.
Eye irritation from smoking.
Exposure to chemical or environmental irritants.
Crowded or unsanitary living conditions.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Your child should wash hands frequently, and dry with clean towels.
Urge your child to avoid environments with excessive dust or other irritating substances.
Encourage your child to eat a normal, well-balanced diet.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory culture of the discharge from the child's sty.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSSpread of infection to other glands in the eyelid.
Usually curable within 1 week after the sty discharges its pus. Sties frequently recur in children, even with treatment.
HOME CAREUse warm-water soaks to relieve the child's pain and inflammation and hasten healing. Apply soaks for 20 minutes, then let the child rest at least 1 hour. Repeat as often as needed.
MEDICATIONAntibiotic eye drops to prevent the spread of infection to other parts of the child's eye. Oral antibiotics or antibiotic injections are usually not needed.
Topical antibiotic ointments or creams, such as erythromycin or bacitracin. Apply a thin layer of medication to the edge of the child's eyelid 3 or 4 times daily. A heavy layer wastes medicine and is no more beneficial to your child than a thin layer.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your doctor may prescribe:
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes. Not contagious directly to others if your child keeps hands clean and away from eyes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
A ripened sty does not drain spontaneously or after gentle removal of the affected eyelash.
Pain occurs in the child's eye.