Are Styes Contagious

A stye is a small lesion on the eyelid that looks similar in appearance to a zit or pimple.

They are caused by one of the glands in the eyelid becoming blocked and possibly infected with the S. aureus bacteria, which results in the tissue around the stye becoming red, sore and inflamed.

This results in discomfort and sometimes pain for the sufferer.

Internal & External Styes

A stye can either be and internal stye or an external stye.

External styes are the most common and are so-called because they develop on the exterior of the eyelid with their head pointing outwards. An external stye indicates an infection of an eyelash follicle, oil (sebaceous) gland or apocrine gland.

Internal styes are less common and develop on the underside of the eyelid, with their head pointing inward towards the eyeball. Consequently, they are only possible to see if the eyelid is turned inside out. An internal stye usually indicates an infection of a meibomian gland.

Are Styes Contagious?

If you search the Internet or even if you ask a health care professional if styes are contagious, you can receive different answers.

This is because most styes are contagious but some are not and because in theory styes can be contagious but in practice it is very difficult to pass the infection onto someone else. Let me explain further...

Some styes are caused by a simple uninfected blockage of a gland or follicle on the eyelid. These types of stye are not contagious.

However, when a blockage occurs, there is a high risk of the gland or follicle becoming infected with bacteria and when this happens, a stye will become contagious.

There's no easy way of telling whether a stye has an infection or not. Infected styes tend to be more inflamed and painful than uninfected styes, however this is not always the case.

To complicate matters a little more, although an infected stye is theoretically contagious, it is very difficult to pass the infection onto someone else. this is because the bacteria has to have direct contact with someone else's eyelid and be able to find away under the skin (either via a blocked gland or a wound).

As most people do not have any abrasion on their eyelids and don't go around 'rubbing eyelids' with stye-sufferers, there is only a very slim chance of passing the infection.

So if you have a stye, you can still mix with others at work and social occasions and if your kids have a stye, you can still send them to school without the worry of infecting others.

Find out how to get rid of a stye over on my blog as well as further info to the question " Are Styes Contagious? "

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