7 signs that necessitates medical attention for an internal stye

When Should I See a Doctor for an Internal Stye?
Here are 7 signs that necessitate medical attention for an internal stye, which includes bleeding, impaired vision, and bulging of the eyes.

Here are 7 signs that indicate medical attention is required for an internal stye:

  1. No progress over the first few days or if the stye might persist up to a week
  2. Stye grows or looks to be getting worse
  3. Bleeding
  4. Impaired vision
  5. Red and inflamed sclera (the white component of the eye)
  6. Bulging of the eyes or appearance of unusual redness/swelling on the cheeks or elsewhere on the face, indicating that the infection is spreading
  7. Diabetes mellitus and uncontrolled sugar levels

What is an internal stye?

An internal stye is a painful, red bump that appears typically on the edge of the eyelid due to an infection.

  • Bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus are the most common causes.
  • These bacteria are normally present on the skin, but if the skin is injured, they can cause styes.
  • Staphylococcal bacteria can be spread to the eyelid if a person touches the mucus from the nose and then rubs the eye with the same unclean hands.

Although styes are red and painful, they rarely cause harm to the eye or eyelids. The majority of cases clear up within a few days although no therapy is given.

However, the infection from one stye can sometimes spread and result in the formation of additional styes. The entire eyelid may get infected in rare cases. This necessitates medical attention, including the use of antibiotics.

How is an internal stye different from an external stye?

Internal stye: This stye appears on the inside of the eyelid. It can develop when an oil-producing gland becomes infected.

External stye: This stye appears near the base of the eyelashes. It resembles a pimple at times. It can develop when a hair follicle becomes infected.

What are the signs and symptoms of internal styes?

Common signs and symptoms of an internal stye include:

  • Painful, red bump typically on the edge of the eyelid
  • A small yellowish-white pus spot in the center of the bump
  • Light sensitivity
  • Tearing and a mild redness of the eyes
  • Feels like something is stuck in your eye
  • The crust on the edge of the eyelid

Rare symptoms that indicate the spread of infection to other structures of the eye and eye complications:

  • Decreased vision or blurring of vision
  • Delayed pupil response
  • Painful eye movements
  • Restricted eye movements
  • Swelling and/or redness of the entire eyelid
  • Bulging of the eyes

How does an internal stye develop?

A stye develops as follows:

  • The eyelid develops a painful, red, and tender bump due to an infection of the oil-producing gland.
  • The lump grows larger, and a white or yellow top may appear. The term “pointing” refers to the presence of pus in the stye. The point might be on the outside of the eyelid (where the eyelashes grow) or inside the eyelid. It is uncommon to find it on the outside of the eyelid.
  • The stye can irritate the eye, making it water, and a feeling of something stuck in the eye (foreign body sensation).
  • When the body's immune system can treat the infection, the surface of the stye may break, releasing the pus, or the swelling may go away without exploding.
  • If the pus from the stye drains, the lump will disappear fast. If not, the swelling may take longer to subside.

How is an internal stye treated?

Styes can be excruciatingly painful and unpleasant and cause significant discomfort. It is important to not squeeze or rub the stye and maintain hygiene to prevent worsening of infection.

Most styes can clear up with home remedies and over-the-counter medication.

Home remedies

  • Hot compresses can help with pain relief and may aid in the removal of the infection.
    • A hot compress can be done using a piece of soft cloth or cotton heated in hot water.
    • It should be as hot as the person can tolerate comfortably without burning their skin.
    • To reduce the risk of a burn, it's usually ideal if the person with the stye handles it. This can be repeated several times a day.
  • Pain and discomfort due to styes can be relieved by over-the-counter painkillers such as acetaminophen.

Medical treatment

If the stye persists in being uncomfortable and painful, with no improvement, it is advised to see a doctor to prevent complications.

Antibiotic ointments may be required at times, and oral antibiotics may be required on rare occasions which require a prescription.


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Medically Reviewed on 1/6/2022
Image Source: iStock Images