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Do Dry Eyes Cause Styes?

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A close-up eyes of a young woman with an inflamed stye.

Dry eye is a common condition that affects up to 50 million Americans. This condition can lead to other issues with your eyes such as styes. Dry eyes can lead to styes in some individuals, as dryness can lead to eyelid irritation and increase the risk of infections, which can result in having styes. Having dry eyes does not mean that you will get styes, but if you do not take care of your eye health, there are symptoms from dry eyes that can increase your risk of styes. Styes can be an added complication from dry eyes and can be unpleasant to deal with.

This blog will look at some of the symptoms that can increase your risk of having styes when you are also suffering from dry eyes. If you are unsure if you suffer from dry eyes and have not been diagnosed, book your appointment today with our optometrist to take our dry eye exam.

What is a Stye?

A stye is a pimple-like bump on either the upper or lower part of your eyelid. These are caused from an infection in your oil glands around your eyes. Styes are not contagious so you do not have to worry about spreading it to people around you. Some symptoms you could have when you have a stye are:

  • Eyelid pain
  • Eyelid swelling
  • Tearing
  • A red lump on your eyelid 

How Do I Treat My Styes?

Styes, for most people, will not affect your vision and harm your eye. For many, styes do not last very long and you are able to get rid of them within a couple of days with some self care measures. Applying a warm washcloth to your eye that is affected with the stye for 5 to 10 minutes, while the eyelid is closed can help. Massaging the eyelid can also help to get rid of the stye. 

Woman standing against a grey background rubbing her eyes.

How Can I Prevent Styes?

Understanding the risks of how you can get styes will help you with preventing them. You can increase your risk of getting styes by:

  • Touching your eyes with unwashed hands
  • Using old or expired cosmetic products around your eyes
  • Leaving on makeup while you sleep 
  • Not cleaning your contact lenses and putting them into your eye with unclean hands

You can prevent styes by making sure that you have clean hands when you touch your eyes. Having dry eyes can increase your risk of unknowingly touching your eyes with unclean hands. If you have irritation from dry eyes, you are more likely to accidentally touch your eyes. The build up of bacteria from having dry eyes with the added bacteria from the constant touching of your eyes will increase your chances of having styes. 

Symptoms of Dry Eyes that can lead to Styes

Some of the symptoms that you might suffer from when you have dry eyes can increase your chances of having styes, if you do not care for your dry eye condition properly. Dry eyes are caused by a number of factors and disrupt your healthy tear film and can clog the ducts in your eyes. These clogs can lead to infections which result in styes. Some symptoms of dry eyes can include:

  • Eye redness and inflammation
  • Blurred vision or eye fatigue 
  • Sensation of having something in your eye, which can cause you to rub your eyes more frequently 
  • Watery eyes, which is the body’s response to irritation in the eye
  • Stringy or mucus around the eye
  • Stinging, burning or scratching in your eyes

Having dry eyes can lead to other complications. When you do not have healthy tear production, you have a higher risk of:

  • Eye infections – your tears protect your eye from infections. Without this natural lubrication, your eyes can be at a higher risk of infections.
  • Damage to the surface of your eye – if you leave your dry eyes untreated, it can lead to inflammation and abrasions which in extreme cases, can lead to vision loss. 

For many people, dry eyes can be tolerated with regular care. If there are symptoms that persist and get worse and become excessively dry, you can cause more damage to your eyes

How Can I Treat My Dry Eyes So I Don’t Get Styes?

The optometrists at Signature Eye Care have many ways to treat your dry eyes so that you can prevent complications that can arise from this condition, such as styes. Some of the ways that you can relieve your dry eye symptoms are:

  • Artificial tears
  • Medicated eye drops
  • Warm Compress
  • Omega 3 supplements

Along with the traditional treatments for dry eyes, Signature Eye Care offers in-clinic treatment options. To learn more about how you can care for the health of your eyes, speak to one of our eye doctors today. Your eye health is important to us.

Written by Dr. Jonathan Knutson

As a Doctor of Optometry, Dr. Knutson’s commitment to patients is his ongoing professional education. He takes pride in staying up-to-date as technology changes to ensure he can provide the latest and greatest care for your eyes. Dr. Knutson enjoys entertaining and is committed to providing a fun and enjoyable experience for his patients. He genuinely cares about his patients, placing utmost importance on the satisfaction of his care and products.
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