By Staff

by Aparna Zalani

SOUTHLAKE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – One North Texas eye doctor says she’s seeing more patients coming in with eye styes.

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“I’m seeing, probably at least two to three times as many stye now compared to what I was seeing in prior to covid,” said Dr, Deborah Zanella, optometrist at Kirkwood Eye Center in Southlake.

She says prolonged and ill-fitting mask wear could be one of the factors for the painful styes.

“A stye is basically where the oil glands of the eyelid, get clogged up typically caused by bacteria,” she said. “With the increased use of mask, you have a situation where you have a lot of upward airflow coming from the mouth and the nose.”

She said the bacteria could settle on the lids near the opening of the oil glands.

“What’s happening is there’s a blockage occurring at me point along this gland,” Dr. Zanella said.

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Keeping the openings clean will prevent styes from forming.

She says gentle compresses with a warm napkin or cloth can help reduce the irritation when you feel the stye coming.

“Essentially you want to apply to the eye where you still decide for 10 minutes, four times a day,” she said.

If the swelling doesn’t go down, seek medical attention.

She says there’s no direct link between styes and prolonged mask use.

But to minimize the risk– wear a tight-fitting mask and take short breaks from mask wearing– whenever possible and make sure to use a clean mask every time.

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Dr. Zanella says people with dry eyes and those who wear eye lash extensions are more at a higher risk for styes… Staff