stye on lower lid

All About Styes: What Are They & How to Treat Them

What causes a stye, sty or hordeolum? Learn all about styes & stye treatment – including a stye inside the eyelid – from the eye experts at iCare Vision.

They’re a little painful, often tender, appear red and swollen, and are contagious. Yes, by all accounts, styes are not a sight for sore eyes.

The good news is they usually don’t cause vision issues and they typically heal on their own.

If you, a loved one, or your child is contending with a stye inside or outside the eyelid, keep reading to find everything you need to know about the causes, prevention, and treatment of styes.
 

What is a stye, exactly?

A stye, also known as a hordeolum, looks like a pimple – a small, red, swollen lump – that forms at the base of (outside) or under (inside) the eyelid.

They are a localized infection caused by bacteria that builds around an eyelash or within a small oil gland inside the eyelid.

The signs and symptoms of styes can sometimes mirror those of pink eye.

It’s a stye if:

  • The eye has a red, swollen, tender, pimple-like lump on or inside the eyelid.
  • The eye sometimes feels like there is grit inside and is sensitive to light.

It’s pink eye if:

  • The eye has a gooey green or yellow discharge expelling from it and the eye is red, itchy, and crusted shut in the morning. [Bacterial]
  • The eye is watery, swollen, and sensitive to light and is sometimes accompanied by a fever, sore throat and/or cough. [Viral]

 

What Causes a Stye?

Billions of beneficial bacteria call our bodies home. Our skin hosts a wide array of harmless bacteria, but once in a while, when the environment is right, this bacterium (typically staphylococcal bacteria) gets caught with dead skin cells in the oil glands of the eyelids. The result is a painful bump that often appears red and swollen.

Staphylococcal bacteria live in abundance on the nose. A very common way this bacterium finds its way to the eyelids in the first place is from rubbing the nose and then rubbing the eyes. Transferring mucus from the nose to the eyes via rubbing can also create the perfect storm, allowing styes to form.

Styes can also form when excess dust from construction, dirt piles, or even pollen becomes “plugged” within a lid gland.
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Stye Treatment

While styes are not endearing, they are low risk and usually don’t require medical attention. With a little patience and following the right steps, styes usually resolve on their own within a few days (on average, between 3-7 days).

To help alleviate any pain associated with a stye, and to help promote the healing process, apply a warm compress to the infected area.

  • Take a clean, soft washcloth and soak it in hot water for one minute.
  • Ring out excess water and apply the warm washcloth to the infected eye for 10-15 minutes at a time, for a total of 3-5 times a day.
  • Apply a gentle massage upward for lower lid styes and down for upper lid styes.
  • As the washcloth chills, resoak it in hot water before reapplying.

It is imperative that you do NOT squeeze or pop a stye!!

Squeezing, popping or touching the stye can significantly increase the chance of the infection spreading into the eyelid. Additionally, as the stye heals, it’s helpful to not wear makeup or contact lenses.

Multiple styes over several years may eventually lead to severe dry eye since the glands that are getting infected are damaged and may stop producing valuable tears for your eyes.
 

You Should See Your Eye Doctor About Your Stye If…

While it’s not common, a stye can occasionally call for medical attention. As your stye is healing, be mindful of how your eye is looking and feeling. If you experience any of the following issues, it’s important to see your eye doctor right away:

  • Severe or atypical pain in the infected eye
  • Vision impairment, flashes of light, or floaters in the infected eye
  • Increased swelling of the infected eyelid
  • The stye begins to bleed
  • The stye grows in size
  • Redness that extends onto the cheek
  • Recurrent styes
  • A stye’s appearance hasn’t improved in a few days or lasts for longer than a few weeks
  • Your child’s stye is pushing on their eye

* A child’s vision continues to develop until they’re about eight to ten years old. If the stye is pushing on their eye, it’s important an eye doctor examines their eye to ensure the necessary steps are taken.

Depending on your unique situation, an optometrist may prescribe oral antibiotics or antibiotic drops. In rare, severe cases where the stye affects vision and does not subside, the stye may need to be drained. This can be done with a local anesthesia in the doctor’s office.
 

How to Prevent Styes in the Future

Stye prevention revolves around keeping the eye area clean, and only exposing eyes to clean, safe products. If you have a stye and want to prevent a future one from occurring, or you simply want to adopt a better eye care routine, utilize these tips:

  • Try to avoid unnecessary rubbing of your eye.
  • While it’s impossible to not rub your eyes once in a while (especially during allergy season), regularly wash your hands to ensure clean contact.
  • Remove all makeup before bedtime so eye follicles do not clog overnight.
  • Replace eye makeup every six months to avoid bacterial growth.
  • Wash your hands before placing or removing contact lenses.

 

When It’s Time to Seek Medical Advice, Contact iCare Vision

If you feel your stye is not healing properly, don’t hesitate to contact the eye experts at iCare Vision. A stye examination is a quick and painless process, and we’ll help your eyes get back to feeling free and clear again.

Schedule A Stye Examination Appointment Today

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dry eye symptoms

Your Dry Eye Symptoms Explained

What causes dry eyes? Learn about chronic dry eyes –including dry eye symptoms – from the eye experts at I Care Vision.

Your bustling days rely heavily on your vision. When your eyes are irritated, however, your attention tends to shift inward, as you try to alleviate the discomfort. This can slow you down and throw off your flow, attitude, and appearance.

But you’re not just experiencing random, intermittent eye discomfort; your eyes feel dry, itchy, gritty, and can be sensitive to light more often than not.

Why is this, you wonder? You could have chronic dry eye – a common condition that can be managed and treated by an optometrist to prevent your vision from being affected.

Keep reading to learn about chronic dry eye symptoms and to understand what causes dry eyes:
 

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome is a condition that results from poor eye lubrication and nourishment by a low tear production.

With each blink, the cornea – the surface of the eye – is covered with lubricating, nourishing tears. Tears are essential to the functionality and health of your eyes because they disintegrate foreign matter, reduce the risk of infection, and keep the eye’s surface smooth.

Excess tears leave the eye via small drainage ducts located on the inner corners of the eyelids and flow to the back of the nose. Dry eyes develop when there’s a disconnect between tear production and drainage.

Your dry eyes are the result of your eyes either not producing enough tears or not making the right quality of tears, which causes you to experience uncomfortable symptoms.
 

Chronic Dry Eye Symptoms

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, an estimated 4.88 million Americans age 50 and older have dry eyes.

Common dry eye symptoms include:

  • Eye redness
  • Burning, stinging, or itchy sensations
  • Irritation when watching TV or looking at the computer screen
  • Grittiness, or feeling like there’s something in the eyes
  • Stringy mucus in or around the eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Trouble with nighttime driving
  • Trouble wearing contact lenses
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye fatigue

While the development of dry eyes usually emerges with age, people younger than 50 can live with dry eyes, too. But what causes dry eyes?
 

What Causes Dry Eyes?

Dry eyes can originate from a variety of conditions. Identifying and treating the primary cause with the help of an optometrist can lead to a long-lasting solution and soothed eyes.

Dry eyes can develop because of:

  • Diabetes
  • Contact lenses
  • Eye surgeries, such as laser surgery
  • High blood pressure medication, such as beta-blockers or diuretics
  • Antihistamines
  • Sleeping pills
  • Anxiety medications
  • Dry or smoky environments (long-term exposure to)
  • Shingles
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjögren’s syndrome

These conditions compromise the eye’s oil glands, tear ducts, or corneas in some way, resulting in dry eyes.
 

Give Your Eyes the Relief They Need

You don’t have to suffer through your dry eye symptoms anymore. If your eyes are constantly dry, red, itchy, or irritated in countless other ways, start by talking with an optometrist.

Chronic dry eyes are very common and the exam to diagnose and treated is quick and painless. Your doctor can identify the cause and triggers of your dry eyes and help ensure your vision is healthy.

At I Care Vision, we know that your eye health is crucial to your overall health. Let us help you take the best care of your eyes.

Give your eyes a refresh.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

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spring allergy symptoms

How to Prepare Your Eyes for Spring Allergies

Suffer from seasonal allergy symptoms? Would you benefit from different allergy eye drops? Prepare your eyes for spring with six eye allergy relief tips.

After a long, Ohio winter, nothing is more celebrated than the day the weather finally breaks and consistently radiates spring-like weather. For allergy sufferers, however, spring can also spell misery in the form of sneezing, a runny nose, and red, itchy, watery eyes.

With more than 50 million Americans suffering from various types of allergies each year, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, it’s no wonder that allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.
 

Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

Seasonal allergy symptoms rival those of a cold, with common symptoms including:

  • Coughing
  • Itchy, red, watery eyes
  • Puffy eyes
  • Congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Throat irritation
  • Wheezing
  • Fatigue

Spring is meant to be enjoyed and with the right preparation, you can lessen the impact of seasonal allergies.

Here are six things you can do to prepare your eyes for spring:
 

6 Tips for Eye Allergy Relief

 
1. Avoid Problematic Allergens.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for seasonal allergies, but there are ways to manage and treat your allergy symptoms. One of the most effective ways to minimize eye discomfort is to avoid or limit your exposure to troublesome allergens altogether.

To start, check the day’s pollen levels before heading out the door. If the pollen level is high and you don’t necessarily need to go outside, stay inside until after midday – this is when pollen levels begin to fall.

Planning your spring and summer around pollen levels is pretty unrealistic, though. You’ve got things to do and weather to enjoy. When you’re determined to get outside, be sure to:

  • Take your allergy medicine before you head out the door.
  • Wear a mask, such as a painter’s mask, as an air filter if you’re doing yard work or similar tasks.
  • Steer clear of pollutants, such as car exhaust, as these tend to exacerbate allergy symptoms.
  • Keep your home allergen-free by finishing spring cleaning chores before pollen levels kick up, keep windows closed on high pollen days, and change your HVAC filters routinely and before starting your A/C unit for the first time this season.

 
2. Start Allergy Medications Early.
As previously noted, it’s wise to remember to take your allergy medication before you go outside for the day, or – for people who suffer from severe seasonal allergies – take it before allergy season even arrives. Being proactive with your allergy treatment will help ensure symptoms don’t get out of control when the pollen starts to fly.
 
3. Drink Green Tea.
Adding a cup of green tea to your daily diet is not only a healthy habit, but it could also be a powerful way to fight allergies.

According to the American Chemical Society, researchers in Japan conducted laboratory tests and identified a compound in green tea that blocks a key cell receptor involved in producing an allergic reaction.

Green tea also possesses several other compounds that have shown to be anti-allergenic, but laboratory research done on the compound methylated epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) reveals that there is a more potent anti-allergenic component to the healthy drink.
 
4. Start Cold Therapy.
Delivering immediate relief and improved appearance around the eyes, cold therapy is an easy way to soothe allergy symptoms, like eye redness, itchiness, tenderness, and swelling.

While many retailers sell cold therapy eye compresses, you can easily make one at home using a soft, clean cloth or towel.

  • Simply soak the cloth in cold water
  • Wring out the excess water
  • Gently place the cloth over the eyes
  • Repeat the process when the towel loses its chill

For severe allergy symptoms, place the wet cloth in the refrigerator for approximately 10 minutes. A colder compress may provide more relief.
 
5. Wear Your Glasses.
The surface of your contact lenses can act as magnets to airborne allergens, quickly collecting tiny particles of dust and pollen.

Along with trying to avoid allergens completely, swapping your contact lenses for glasses on days when your allergies are or may be more severe is a guaranteed way to reduce eye discomfort from allergies.
 
6. Get Ahead of the Irritation: Schedule an Eye Checkup.
Eye allergies are one of our nation’s most prevailing, but overlooked, diseases. If you suffer from allergies, the benefits of visiting your eye doctor for regular eye-health checkups cannot be overemphasized.

Your optometrist will give your eyes a full evaluation to determine:

  • Your overall eye health
  • Exactly how your eyes react to allergens
  • Specific treatment options that will work best for you

If you need prescription strength allergy eye drops or a different treatment, your eye doctor can prescribe you medicated relief in the form of artificial tears, eye drops, or decongestants.

Take the right steps this allergy season to ensure your eyes don’t cause you discomfort. Let the eye experts at I Care Vision help you take the best care of your eyes this and every allergy season.

Eye allergy relief is possible.

Schedule Your Eye Allergy Appointment Today

Scheduling an appointment not only can you provide you relief from your discomfort, but also prevent other illnesses. We often see patients with eye allergies that have become upper respiratory or eye infection.

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What Causes Eye Floaters?

Wonder why you’re seeing black or grey specks, or “cobwebs” in your vision? Let’s talk about eye floaters

In order to discuss what causes eye floaters, let’s first define them.

An eye floater is a spot in your vision that may appear as:

  • black or grey specks
  • black or grey strings
  • cobwebs

The spots in your vision may drift when you move your eyes, and dart away when you try to look at them directly.

Who is Most at Risk of Experiencing Eye Floaters?

Individuals most at risk for eye floaters are typically over 50 years of age. A few additional risk factors include:

  • nearsighted
  • recent head or eye trauma
  • diabetic retinopathy
  • eye inflammation

What Causes Eye Floaters?

Age-Related Changes
As you age, the vitreous, a gel-like substance that fills about 80% of your eye, slowly shrinks. The vitreous’ main purpose is to help your eye maintain its round shape. As it shrinks, it becomes stringy, and the strands can clump and cast tiny shadows on your retina. These shadows are floaters.

In most cases, floaters are a natural part of your eye’s aging process. While distracting at first, they will eventually settle below your line of sight.

Other common causes of eye floaters are more serious than age related changes. If you’re experiencing a floater every now and again there is no cause for concern, but if you see a whole slew of floaters accompanied by flashes of light, you should seek immediate medical attention. A small handful of these emergency situations are listed below.

Inflammation
Inflammation in the back of the eye causes the release of inflammatory debris into the vitreous, which are seen as floaters.

Bleeding
Blood cells in the eye caused by diabetes, hypertension, blocked blood vessels and injury are seen as floaters.

Posterior Vitreous Detachment
A study published in Opthamology showed that of individuals experiencing sudden eye floaters and flashes of light, 39.7% of them had posterior vitreous detachment – a condition in which your vitreous pulls away from your retina.

Retinal Detachment
If left untreated, a posterior vitreous detachment can quickly become a retinal detachment. As the vitreous tugs on the retina, it causes a small tear or hole. Vitreous enters the tear and pushes the retina further away from the inner lining of the back of eye. Research has shown that up to 50% of people with a retinal tear will develop a retinal detachment, leading to significant vision loss.

During a detachment, the patient has approximately 24 -48 hours to fix it or risk permanent loss of vision and possibly the entire eye. Most offices, like ours, have a 24/7 emergency phone number allowing you to speak with a doctor regarding conditions such as retinal detachment. Call your doctor as soon as you start experiencing a retinal emergency – do not wait until a weekend or holiday is over!

How Should I Treat Eye Floaters?

If you’re unsure of the severity of your eye floater, it’s best to schedule an exam and consult with a doctor. As mentioned above, in most cases the doctor will be able to provide you with peace of mind that your floater is just a symptom of age. In other cases; however, your doctor may recommend treatment.

One of the most common eye floater treatments is laser vitreolysis. During this procedure, a laser is projected into the eye through the pupil to target the floaters and break them apart.

Some common factors that determine whether laser treatment is right for you include your age, when your symptoms started, what your floaters look like and where they are located in your eye.

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

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How to Tell if Your Child Has Pink Eye

Learn more about pink eye symptoms and how you can help to treat it and prevent the spread.

As with most firsts in young children, pink eye can seem scary. Rest assured; however, that pink eye is usually easy to treat.

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an irritation of the transparent membrane that lines your eyelid and part of your eyeball.

How Do You Get Pink Eye?

Children attending day care, preschool or elementary are most at risk for pink eye because of how closely they work with other children in the classroom.

There are three main types of pink eye that your child may contract. Only two – viral and bacterial – are contagious. Viral and bacterial pink eye can spread very quickly either through direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluid – from the eye, mouth or nose – or from indirect contact with something the infected person’s fluid touched. For example, if a child with pink eye sneezes on a book he’s reading, the next few children to interact with that book could contract pink eye.

Let’s look at each of the three types of pink eye a little more closely.

Viral Pink Eye
Viral pink eye is very contagious. Like the common cold, it usually clears up on its own, without medical treatment, within several days. Slightly more watery discharge similar to allergic pink eye

Bacterial Pink Eye
Bacterial pink eye is also contagious. If left untreated with an antibiotic, this type of pink eye can cause serious eye damage. This type produces more thick mucus with purulent (lot of material) discharge

Allergic Pink Eye
Allergic pink eye can be seasonal or year-round. Some common causes of allergic pink eye include pollen, dust and animal dander. Often this allergic type sets up conditions for viral and bacterial to occur because of unclean hands touching the eyes frequently.

What Are Pink Eye Symptoms?

If you notice any of the following symptoms in your child’s eyes, we recommend you schedule an appointment with your eye doctor right away.

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Green, yellow or white discharge that crusts on eyelashes
  • Increased tears
  • Itching, irritation or burning
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light

How Do You Get Rid of Pink Eye?

The treatment for your child’s pink eye will depends on the type, which is why it’s important to schedule a complete eye exam before beginning treatment.

Viral Pink Eye
Pink Eye caused by viruses usually lasts four to seven days along with other common cold symptoms. Just as your child must wait out other common cold symptoms such as runny nose and cough, he or she will wait out the symptoms of viral pink eye. There are several actions you can take; however, to make your child more comfortable during this time, such as applying a cold, wet washcloth to the eye several times a day.

Bacterial Pink Eye
Pink Eye caused by bacteria is typically treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics can be in the form of eye drops or ointments that need to be applied several times a day. Antibiotics can also be taken as pills. Regardless of the type of antibiotic, your child’s infection should improve within one week.

Allergic Pink Eye
Pink Eye caused by allergies can typically be prevented or treated with allergy medications before or after the allergy season begins.

If you’re worried about the spread of pink eye in your child’s school or in your own home, here are a few things you can do:

  • Keep your child home from school or daycare until they are no longer contagious.
  • Distract your child whenever he or she wants to touch or rub the infected eye.
  • Wash any discharge from your child’s eye several times a day using a fresh cotton ball or paper towel.
  • Wash your child’s sheets, pillowcases and towels more frequently.
  • Wash your child’s hands frequently and keep disinfectant on hand when washing is not an option.
  • Apply a cold, wet washcloth to the eye several times a day.

There are several other conditions associated with pink eye – such as dry eyes and blepharitis – so it’s extremely important that you schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to determine if your child does in fact have pink eye, what type of pink eye it is, and how it should best be treated.

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

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What is Lazy Eye?

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