I had a stye, and a doctor used a needle to remove it. The procedure was simple and didn't even cause any bleeding. How is this possible?
What is a stye?
A stye is an infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes or the apocrine sweat glands on the margin of the eyelid. Styes are caused by the gland becoming blocked by cell debris or sebum, a natural oil produced by the body. The stye generally appears on the interior or margin of the eyelid as a small whitish colored protrusion, similar to a whitehead. They can be quite painful and irritating, but they usually don't cause significant problems, and it is easy to get rid of them.
How are styes treated?
There are several ways to remove styes, the most common being the repeated application of a topical antibiotic ointment several times a day for a period of two weeks.
The doctor will probably apply a small amount of antiseptic to the affected area; if the stye is located on the inner eyelid, the eyelid will be pulled back to expose the stye.
Using a sharp needle, the doctor will pierce the stye, a procedure known as "lancing".
The doctor may apply pressure to encourage the stye to drain; the liquid that is released is a mixture of pus and previously blocked sebum.
The doctor may choose to apply an antibiotic ointment to the area.
How can doctors do this without damaging the eye?
Doctors are professionals, and any ophthalmologist is likely to have performed the procedure countless times before. The stye isn't actually on the eyeball itself, but on the eyelid. While you or I would have trouble performing a lancing, doctors know what they are doing, and it is easy for them to avoid causing any damage.