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What Triggers an Eye Stye?

July 15 2023

Have you ever experienced a small, painful bump near the edge of your eyelid? If so, you may have had an eye stye. Eye styes, although relatively common, can be bothersome and uncomfortable. Understanding the causes of eye styes is essential for prevention and effective management. 

Read on as an optometrist Lake Stevens, WA talks about eye styes and what causes them.

Understanding Eye Styes

Before exploring the causes, let’s take a moment to understand what an eye stye is. An eye stye, also known as a hordeolum, is a small, red, painful lump that forms on or inside the eyelid. It occurs when the oil glands or hair follicles in the eyelid become infected or blocked. Common symptoms of an eye stye include redness, swelling, tenderness, and sometimes a small pus-filled head.

Causes of Eye Styes

Bacterial Infection

One of the primary causes of eye styes is a bacterial infection. Harmful bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, can find their way into the oil glands or hair follicles of the eyelids, leading to inflammation and the formation of a stye. Practicing good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly and avoiding touching your eyes, can significantly reduce the risk of bacterial infections.

Blockage of Oil Glands

Another common cause of eye styes is the blockage of oil glands in the eyelids. The oil glands produce a substance called sebum, which helps lubricate the eyelids and prevent the evaporation of tears. When these glands become blocked, whether due to debris, dead skin cells, or thickened oils, it creates an environment conducive to stye formation. Factors that can contribute to blockage include poor eyelid hygiene, excessive use of cosmetics, and certain skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis.

Poor Eyelid Hygiene

Maintaining proper eyelid hygiene is crucial for preventing eye styes. Neglecting to keep the eyelids clean can allow dirt, bacteria, and other irritants to accumulate, increasing the risk of infections and styes. To maintain clean eyelids, gently wash them with a mild cleanser or baby shampoo diluted in warm water. Remember to remove any makeup before bed and avoid sharing eye makeup with others to minimize the risk of contamination.

Other Possible Causes

  • Contact with contaminated surfaces
  • Weakened immune system
  • Cosmetics and eye products
  • Eye makeup and hygiene
  • Rubbing or touching eyes
  • Allergic reactions
  • Eyelash mites
  • Poor nutrition
  • Stress and fatigue

If you have more questions or wish to schedule an eye exam, please feel free to call us, your local optometrist Lake Stevens, WA, anytime!

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Grandview Optometry


16616 Twin Lakes Ave
Marysville, WA 98271
(Inside Marysville/Smokey Point Costco)


Monday-Friday: 10:00am-6:30pm
Saturday:  9:30am-5:00pm
Sunday: Closed

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