What are sties and how to treat them?

Apart from being unsightly, styes can be very annoying and painful. Sometimes, when the inflammation is very pronounced and they reach a considerable size, they can even block our vision.

What are they and what causes them?

Our eyelids have a series of glands – called Meibomian glands – that end just at the edge of the eyelid and whose mission is to secrete an oily substance that allows the eyelid to slide over the eye smoothly. Styes are nothing more than an inflammation of one of these glands that for some reason become blocked.

When they become blocked, the fat they contain cannot be drained normally and accumulates, which can lead to infection, which is what causes the swelling of the eyelid. In addition to the swelling, the area takes on a reddish hue and becomes much more irritable and sensitive to the touch. It can also cause a gritty sensation in the eye and constant tearing.


Generally, these are processes that disappear just as quickly as they appeared without doing anything at all. One way to help it to deflate is to apply local heat to break up the obstruction so that the accumulated fat can be expelled.

If after a few days the inflammation does not disappear, the best thing to do is to see your ophthalmologist to assess the situation and decide whether it is necessary to opt for another type of treatment to eliminate the stye.


If the stye does not disappear, it could become encysted, causing what is known as Chalazia. In this case, it is essential to see an ophthalmologist to assess other types of treatment.