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How to Tell the Difference Between a Stye and Pink Eye

When something goes wrong in your eye, you’ll definitely know about it. Between redness, itching, and excessive tear production, things like a stye or pink eye can put a damper on your day.

Fortunately, these are fairly common conditions that are easily treated. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of both pink eye and styes so that you can seek timely care. This article will discuss what causes these conditions, how to treat them, and also how to prevent them from happening in the first place.

What is a Stye?

Styes are caused when a pimple or abscess forms on your eyelid. This typically occurs near an eyelash and is often the result of bacteria clogging an oil duct.

When you develop a stye, you’ll likely notice a red, painful bump on the edge of your upper or lower eyelid. It may last several days before eventually going away. Although most styes simply resolve on their own, some can occur deeper in the eyelid and may need medical treatment.

What is Pink Eye?

Unlike a stye, pink eye is an infection of the transparent lining of your eyelid known as the conjunctiva. Hence, pink eye is scientifically referred to as conjunctivitis. The infection in this area is usually caused by bacteria and leads to inflammation of the small blood vessels. This makes them more visible and gives the white portion of your eye a reddened appearance.

Those with pink eye typically experience an itching or burning sensation, discharge that forms a crust overnight, and excess tear production.

Also unlike styes, pink eye is highly contagious and can be spread from person to person.

How to Prevent Styes and Pink Eye

Although it’s unlikely that a stye or pink eye will cause permanent eye damage, you still don’t want to experience either of these conditions. By practicing these key prevention tips, you can decrease your chances of developing a stye or pink eye.

  • Avoid touching your eyes
  • Wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitizer when soap and water isn’t available
  • Remove your makeup before going to bed
  • Keep your contact lenses clean and change them regularly
  • Use a fresh pillowcase every week

Since styes and pink eye are usually caused by bacteria getting into your eye, the best thing you can do to prevent them is to avoid touching your face. This decreases the chances of bacteria causing an infection.

On top of this, it’s also important to keep your face fresh. By removing products like makeup at the end of the day, you’ll decrease your chances of clogging a duct that may cause a stye. Likewise, regularly washing your face helps keep bacteria away from your eyes.

How to Treat a Stye at Home

If you find yourself with a stye, the most important thing to do is avoid trying to pop it. This may be tempting but doing so can cause damage to your eye and lead to even more irritation.

Instead, use a warm compress to help decrease the inflammation around your eye. Most styes will pop on their own within a few days.

How to Treat Pink Eye at Home

As previously mentioned, most cases of pink eye are caused by a bacterial infection. This means that you may need antibiotic eye drops to help your body fight it off. Your doctor will determine what is causing your symptoms and then write a prescription to treat them.

Occasionally, pink eye can also be caused by allergies. When things like pollen irritate your eyes, it can cause lots of inflammation. As a result, you may experience the same symptoms as someone with bacterial pink eye. If you think your pink eye is caused by allergies, taking an antihistamine medication may help.

Either way, using a cool compress can help manage the burning and itching associated with pink eye. If you wear contacts, you should switch to glasses until your symptoms resolve.

When to Seek Care for Pink Eye or a Stye

Seeking care for a stye or pink eye can greatly decrease the amount of time it takes for your symptoms to resolve. It can also put your mind at ease.

If you have a stye that doesn’t go away after a week, gets worse over time, or starts to affect your vision, it’s time to go to the doctor. Likewise, for pink eye, if your symptoms linger or affect your vision, you should schedule an appointment. Doing so helps ensure you get the right treatment and don’t suffer any permanent eye damage.

Velocity Urgent Care Can Help You See Clearly

If you find yourself suffering from a stye or pink eye, Velocity Urgent Care is ready to help. Our friendly, board-certified providers will perform a thorough exam to determine what is causing your symptoms. Then, they’ll prescribe the best treatment to manage them.

If you need more advanced care, we can also refer you to a specialist without a visit to your primary care doctor.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking serious safety precautions to ensure that our locations are as clean as possible. We’ve put strict sterilization protocols into place and are carefully handling patients who may be contagious to ensure that each one of our clinics is safe for those who need urgent medical care or occupational health services.

Velocity Urgent Care offers convenient online registration that helps you limit your contact with others during a visit. You can sign up for an appointment online ahead of time and arrive when it’s time to be seen to skip the waiting room. We even offer text message updates so you can wait in the car (if you prefer) until it’s time for your appointment.

Velocity Urgent Care is an in-network provider for most major insurance plans, meaning you can be seen for the cost of your co-pay and deductible. All of our locations also accept Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Veterans Administration beneficiaries are also welcome. To find out more about our services, locations, hours, and more, visit www.velocityuc.com.