The phrase “if yoh give and tek back yoh wah get cat boil” is common among children in Belize. But many of the persons who use the saying may not really know what a “cat boil” is. Well, the medical term for it is Eye Stye and it comes in two different forms. Healthy Living found out this week that the condition is easily treated.
Marleni Cuellar, Reporting
It may not be a harmful eye condition, but to any person who’s developed a sty on their eye; it is a very bothersome issue. To find out more about styes and the best way to treat them, we spoke with Ophthalmologist, Dr David Hoy. The first thing he explained is that there are two different types of styes.
Dr. David Hoy, Ophthalmologist
“The stye is a blockage of the oil gland so if you have a blockage of the oil gland. The oil glands that are external meaning that they are near to where the eyelashes enter the lid. You have an external stye. If you have a blockage of the oil gland that are more inside the lid; you have an internal stye.”
The most common symptoms of styes other than the noticeable bump include watery eyes, pain, tenderness, itching, or redness. The area may also feel bruised and even sensitive to light. But what causes the blockage in the first place? Well, Numerous factors, from eye makeup to hygiene and even excessive stress.
Dr. David Hoy
“The blockage of the oil glands whether external or internal will be from a piece of dust, it can be eyeliner, it can be from hormonal changes. It can be from a chronic infection that is happening on the base of the eyelashes that can trigger or it can be multifactorial, all of them playing a little part in causing it.”
Children, because of dirty hands and rubbing their eye, teenagers because of hormonal changes and menopausal women for the same reason are more likely to develop styes but it can develop at any age.
Many times Dehydration or dry eyes may also lead to lack of water content in eye, throwing off the balance of the tears in our eyes. The same can be said about staring at computer screens for long periods of time. Dr. Hoy explains.
Dr. David Hoy
“Our tears have three things, oil, mucus and water. Your mucus is right over your eye, then you have water sticking onto your mucus and you have oil over it so our tears don’t evaporate quickly. So that’s how you differentiate tear film. Every time we blink we’re squirting oil, mucus and water over our eyes but if we’re concentrating, we blinking less…not getting as much…that in itself can be…risk factor for us to start a blockage.”
Most styes get better on their own, but it usually takes more time than people would like. The preferred method of treatment is to apply antibiotic ointment, Dr Hoy, suggests a different approach for those of us in Belize.
Dr. David Hoy
“But in belize its dusty. You put an ointment over an area that is blocked and what you are doing is making dust stick onto the ointment and you can get your domino effect just from your treatment that you are using. So you have to be careful using ointment so what I do is I use them at nighttime and during the day I use antibiotic drop and a warm compress. Cause what you are trying to do is get that gland un blocked. You can get it unblocked if you have a warm compress cause it brings down the swelling and what you’re trying to do is to get the oil to try to come out again so that you don’t have the pain. The majority of your external stye will come to a head and the puss will come out. But your internal stye won’t. they tend to, the puss inside the infected area just forms a ball, there is where u have to differentiate you stye from something else; if it gets to that point where that stye does not go away that’s the point where there has to be an excision of that stye.”
If a stye is not getting better with home treatment, it is advisable that you to your doctor.