What Causes Styes?


Quick Answer

Styes are caused by staphylococcus bacteria. These bacteria are always present on the surface of the skin, and when an oil gland in the eyelid becomes clogged with oil and bacteria, they have the chance to replicate. The body reacts to the presence of the bacteria by sending white blood cells to fight them. These white blood cells and the dead bacteria form the pus that comprises the stye.

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Full Answer

A stye looks like a whitehead pimple on the border of the eyelid. Some styes form inside the eyelid, while others form on the outside. Experts recommend against popping a style, since doing so can cause injury to the eye. Interior styes do not always rupture on their own and must sometimes be drained by an eye doctor.

Several other types of eyelid bumps are commonly mistaken for styes. A milia is a tiny white cyst that forms on the outside of the eyelid. Miia are generally painless and look like pinhead-sized whitehead pimples. They are harmless, but they can be removed by a dermatologist if they become bothersome. A chazlion is similar to a stye, but forms a hard bump rather than a pus-filled pocket. Like styes, chazlions typically heal on their own but sometimes require draining.

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