Pink Eye Vs Stye
Both styes and pink eye (pink eye vs stye) can have similar appearances and symptoms, but it is important to be able to determine which of these you are suffering from.
Both Pink eye and stye have detrimental effects on eye health, and should be looked at by a doctor. Even though they are not serious, both pink eye and a stye can cause pain and eye issues.
Read on to learn about pink eye and styes so that you can confidently identify what eye issues you are experiencing!
Symptoms of Pink Eye
So, what are the symptoms of pink eye that you should look out for? It is important to be aware of the symptoms of your eye issue so that you can keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t get worse.
After all, if they are worsening it may be time to contact a professional and have your eyes looked at. It is not always possible with health issues– such as pink eye– to wait for it to go away or heal on its own.
Some of the symptoms of pink eye that you will see are inflammation and redness on your eyelid, as well as itching, or tearing around the eyelid.
This goopiness can also be seen as a discharge that makes it difficult for you to open your eyes in the morning after a night’s rest. Blurry vision and redness on the whites of your eyes can be a telling sign of pink eye, too.
Below are the symptoms of pink eye for quick access:
Tearing or pus around your eye
Redness on the inner eyelid or whites of the eyes
Inflammation or redness on the eyelid
Symptoms of a Stye
What about a stye? It is important to know how to tell the difference, especially so that you can determine how severe the issue is that you are dealing with. Generally speaking, a stye is not as severe as pink eye and will typically go away on its own without any sort of treatment. That being said, some styes can be more severe than others, or much more painful, so in these cases, you may want to seek treatment or meet with an eye doctor to have your issue looked at.
One of the most obvious symptoms of a stye is that there will be a lump or a bump on the inner or outer eyelid. Swollen eyelids, light sensitivity, or a gritty feeling in your eye can also be signs of a stye. In addition to this, you may experience pain, sensitivity, or soreness in and around your eye. Sometimes, this may occur before the lump of the stye has actually formed and become visible. Other times, it may not happen until you do have a noticeable stye on your eyelid.
Below are the symptoms of pink eye for quick access:
Gritty feeling in the eye
Eye pus and tearing
Pain in the eye, or around the eye
Pain in and around the eye
Causes of Pink Eye
Now that you know the symptoms of pink eye and can identify it, what causes this eye condition? If you know how the condition is caused, you may be able to prevent it from occurring in the first place.
It is also important to be aware that there are different types of pink eye, and these can all be caused by different things! This is because the label of pink eye can be used to tag any sort of inflammation or infection that affects the clear membrane that covers your eyelid.
The most common cause of pink eye is allergens, bacteria, or viruses. However, there are several other causes of pink eye.
Some of these include irritation from contact lenses or environmental toxins, like smoke or dust. Any foreign bodies that enter your eye– like an eyelash, for example– can also end up causing or leading to pink eye, if it ends up irritating the lining of your eyelid.
What is Viral Pink Eye?
Viral pink eye is caused by viruses like adenovirus and herpes virus.
Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious, and can often be spread through hand-to-eye contact or through objects that are contaminated. If you have contact with infectious tears, eye discharge, fecal matter or respiratory discharge you can become infected.
Viral pink-eye is typically contagious before symptoms appear and will remain contagious until symptoms clear up.
Viral pink eye will typically clear up in 7-14 days.
What is Bacterial Pink Eye?
Bacterial pink eye is caused by an infection with a bacteria like Staphylococcus Aureus or Streptococcus Pneumonia.
Bacterial pink eye can spread to others as soon as symptoms appear and will remain contagious as long as there is discharge in the eye. Bacterial pink eye is typically treated with antibiotics and usually becomes significantly less contagious 24 -48 hours after the antibiotics have started.
How Can you Tell if Pink Eye is Bacterial or Viral?
A doctor (like Dr, Steven at Respect Eyecare) can often determine whether a bacterial pink eye or viral pink eye is to blame. Typically this is based on patient history, symptoms and the examination of the eye itself.
If you think you are suffering from pink eye click HERE to book an appointment with Dr. Steven at Respect Eyecare.
Causes of a Stye
We discussed the causes of pink eye above, and now we will go over the causes that lead to the development of a stye. Pink eye and a stye may look similar, especially at a quick glance, but they are not the same when it comes to symptoms or causes, either. A stye is characterized by the lump on your eyelid, which can look like either a pimple or a boil.
These often appear around the eyelash follicle or one of the oil glands on your eyelid.
Styes are, generally, caused by an infection of the oil glands that can be found on your eyelids.
Some of the things that you may do that could irritate your eyes and cause a stye are rubbing your eyes too much or sleeping with your makeup on. Wearing disposable contacts for too long to extend their lifespan can lead to a stye, too.
Pink Eye Treatment
If you have determined that you have pink eye, you likely now want to know how you should go about treating the issue. It is important to note that, in the beginning, you may be able to use home remedies– however, if these do not work, you will absolutely need to go see a medical professional.
If your pink eye is very mild, the home remedies may work. However, if these are unsuccessful, you may get prescribed antibiotic eyedrops for your pink eye when you go to see an eye doctor.
Most of home remedies are using things that can already be found in your house, which makes it easy for you to treat yourself. For instance, you can use cold compresses on the affected eye to reduce swelling and inflammation.
You should also avoid using your contact lenses until your pink eye has gone away. Another thing that you can do is get artificial tear eye drops and use these to help treat your eyes. You should try to avoid touching your eyes and should wash your bedding, too.
If these do not work antibiotic eye drops are usually prescribed by a doctor to help fight the bacteria. Pink eye symptoms range, and antibacterial eye drops will primarily deal with the source of the infection so cold cloths and not wearing your contact lenses can help with other pink eye symptoms.
If you have a stye, rather than pink eye, there are some other things that you can do in order to solve your issue.
There are things that you should avoid doing, as these can make your eye issue even worse, instead of better. Some of the things that you should do with pink eye can also work for styes– for example, one of the most important of these is not to wear your contact lenses until your stye is gone.
This is because inserting your contact lenses can end up exacerbating the stye and irritating the eye even more.
When it comes to treatment, the treatment for a stye focuses, first and foremost, on clearing the blockage from the infected oil gland on the eyelid. Remember, this blockage is what causes the stye in the first place. Clean and warm compresses with a proper microwavable eye mask on the eye for 10 minutes at a time is a good way to clear the blocked gland(s).
Be sure not to squeeze or pop the stye, which can make it worse instead and leave you with a permanent scar. If the stye is not going away, though, it may be time to go see an eye doctor. They can then prescribe oral antibiotics or drain the stye– which is not something you should try to do yourself.
When to See an Eye Doctor
You will likely want to try and solve your problem yourself at home, without seeing an eye doctor. Sometimes, with pink eye or styes, this is something that you will be able to do.
After all, we went over some home treatments for each eye issue above. However, there are some instances where you will need to go see an eye doctor and have the issue treated professionally– or to get a prescription for antibiotics.
Generally, if the issue has not gone away or shown any sign of improvement in 48 hours. If your vision is impaired in any way, or if the person affected is 5 years old or less, then you should also go see an eye doctor.
If you are experiencing pus that is green or yellow from the affected eye, you should go to the eye doctor to get treated right away. Similarly, if your eye becomes any other color beyond light red or pink, you should go to the doctor.
Pink Eye and Stye Prevention
Now, neither pink eye nor styes sound very fun, do they? Of course, if it is possible to avoid them, most people would want to do so. There are some precautions you can take to prevent both of these issues, or at least reduce your risk of developing either pink eye or a stye.
For instance, washing your hands well and often can help to avoid transmitting bacteria or foreign objects to your eyes– especially if you work with animals or children for a living. Wash your sheets, pillows, and other bedding frequently.
You should also always be sure to wash off your eye makeup at the end of the day, and opt for an oil free makeup remover to avoid blockages of the oil glands. Another thing to avoid is sharing any objects that touch your eyes– these may include washcloths, towels, or makeup products like mascara.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if it's a stye or pink eye?
If you are experiencing pain or inflammation and redness in your eye, you may be wondering whether you are detailing with a stye or bacterial pink eye.
The largest of the differences between the two is that a stye will usually involve a lump or nodule on the surface of the eyelid.
Pink eye (bacterial pink eye), however, does not usually have a lump. This is one of the easiest and most straightforward ways for you to be able to tell the difference.
Can a stye look like pink eye?
Yes, a stye can look like pink eye! It can also be puffy, red, or inflamed, which is all common for pink eye. That being said, a stye will have some differences in appearance that can help you identify it.
A stye will be red or inflamed, but there will also be a hard, usually white colored lump or bump located on the eyelid. Usually, this is found on the inside of the eyelid which then causes the swelling and redness on the external part of the eye. However, it can also be found on the outside of the eyelid or eyelashes.
What does pink eye feel like when it first starts?
There are a few different feelings that you may experience when you are beginning to get pinkeye. Some of the ways that you can tell you are developing pinkeye are if you are seeing redness in one or both of your eyes, or have itchiness or a gritty feeling in either or both of the eyes.
Another way to tell is if you are getting a discharge from one or both of your eyes– this discharge may form a sort of crust that makes it difficult for you to open your eyes, especially after a nap or after waking up in the morning.
How do you tell if you have pink eye or just an irritated eye?
Pink eye will usually have symptoms such as pus or discharge that makes the eyes sticky, as well as redness and soreness of the eye.
If it is an irritated eye or allergies, you may find instead that you are experiencing the same redness of the eyes, but also a burning sensation. Instead of the pus or discharge that you may find with pink eye, a lot of times, another symptom of irritated eyes will be a more watery discharge instead.