Why does my child get styes?

What is a stye?

A stye is a common occurrence in children. It is usually caused by an infection and appears as a red bump or swelling inside or outside the upper or lower eyelid. Sometimes styes will simply give an individual the feeling of something being in their eye, while other times it can cause irritation and noticeable redness. It is not to be confused with conjunctivitis (pink eye), which can have the same appearance and is highly contagious. Styes are not contagious.

Styes most commonly only affect one eye, but in some cases, you can get a stye in both eyes. They are generally not a cause for major concern and do not typically develop into anything more serious.

What causes a stye?

Styes are caused by clogged oil glands near the outer and inner rims of the eyelid.

What are the symptoms of a stye?

Your child may experience some of the following symptoms if they have or are developing a stye:

-The feeling that there is something in their eye
-A red bump on their eye
-Swelling near the eyelid

How is a stye diagnosed?

A simple visual examination should identify a stye based on the way it looks and perhaps feels.

How is a stye treated?

Styes are easily treated and usually disappear fairly quickly if treatment is consistent.

The first thing to remember when trying to treat a stye is to avoid trying to squeeze it. In fact, avoid touching it altogether as this may aggravate the problem even more. Instead, let it drain on its own naturally.

Using a clean towel, apply a warm compress to your child’s eye 3 to 4 times a day.

Most styes don’t require any formal treatment, but your child may be prescribed ointment or antibiotic eyedrops. In some rare cases, styes will be drained or removed if they are seen to be causing further issues.

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