Styes are very common, but everyone will have a slightly different experience. Yours may be different. The best way to know for sure that your problem isn’t something more serious – like an infection or eyelid cancer – is to have an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) examine it and possibly even biopsy it. Doctor Landmann is an ophthalmologist who specializes in eyelids. These are some general guidelines, but his experience from looking at thousands of eyelid lesions is what sets him apart. Here are some general guidelines:
- Color: Red or skin colored
- Shape: Usually a distinct, round bump near the eyelashes. Sometimes the lid just looks swollen.
- Location: Either the front or back of the eyelid. Upper eyelid or the lower eyelid. Sometimes they are just under the surface and easily seen; Sometimes they are in the middle of the eyelid and can’t be seen, but can be felt. Most commonly, they are near the eyelashes.
- Pain: Usually a dull, uncomfortable tenderness. Sometimes painless though.
- Onset: Usually pretty quick, over the course of a couple hours or days.
- How long they last: Hopefully not very long! But the real answer is, it varies and is unpredictable. Sometimes just a few days.. sometimes for months…
- Effect on vision: A stye should not affect your vision dramatically.
- Age of the patient: Most commonly, these occur in patients less than 40 years old, but they can occur at any age.
Other symptoms which you may or may not have: red eyeball, red eyelid, watery eye or tearing, itching, burning, swollen eyelid, droopy eyelid, light sensitivity, crusties, mucous discharge, or a feeling that something is in your eye.
If you are still not 100% certain that you have a stye – then have a surgeon who specializes in eyelids take a look. You’ll also get great advice on how to treat it.