Many people confuse pink eye with styes. Since the eye conditions have different causes and treatments, it makes sense to learn about these two common types of eye inflammation.
What To Know About Styes
A stye is sort of like a pimple located on the upper or lower eyelid. They usually develop the way most pimples do: skin oil, bacteria or another irritant blocks an oil gland long enough that the bacteria can multiply and cause a small infection.
Styes usually heal on their own, though there are circumstances when you may need an eye doctor’s help. For instance, sometimes the stye forms underneath the eyelid, where it can turn into an abscess. If that happens, an eye doctor may need to drain the abscess.
Other reasons to seek medical aid include:
- Persistent pain that lasts for several days.
- An eyelid that swells so much it prevents you from seeing.
- You develop a fever or pain on eye movement
- Styes that keep coming back.
You can help your stye heal by holding a warm compress to the affected eye for 10 to 15 minutes up to four times a day.
If the stye doesn’t show improvement within 48 hours, talk to your eye doctor about getting a prescription for an antibiotic cream, ointment or pill.
What To Know About Pink Eye
Conjunctivitis, better known as pink eye, is a common condition, especially among children. Unlike styes, pink eye causes inflammation on the surface of the eye and/or inner eyelid.
People contract pinkeye through exposure to:
- Irritants like dirt, smoke, pollen and even shampoo ingredients
In addition to red, swollen eyes, pink eye can cause symptoms like:
- A yellow, green or white discharge
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Swollen lymph nodes (when caused by a virus)
Pink eye usually clears on its own when the virus runs its course or the bacteria die. If the pinkeye is caused by an allergic reaction, try to avoid the allergen as much as possible.
You can help pink eye heal by holding a warm or cool compress to the eye several times a day. You may also want to use preservative-free artificial tears frequently and avoid contact lens wear. Remember that many of these infections are highly contagious. Take precautions to avoid spreading an infection, including washing hands, disinfecting hard surfaces, and washing all linens. You may also want to quarantine family members, as the symptom-free incubation period may precede an infection by up to 48 hours.
You should see your doctor if you experience:
- mucous discharge or lid mattering
- Pink eye that reoccurs or gets worse
- A decline in your vision
If you have these symptoms, your eye doctor may need to prescribe medications to help your body fight that form of pink eye. Additionally, some forms of viral infections respond well to in-office treatments that speed healing and limit contagiousness.
Styes and pink eye are common problems that usually heal on their own, but sometimes need to be addressed by medical professionals. If you or your child need help addressing a stye or pink eye, contact Advanced Eye Care. We’ll be happy to help.