Given your history of sinus problems, it is possible that this could be creating some symptoms but more likely you may have developed a stye in the lower lid. A stye is a plugged oil gland or glands in the eyelid. It creates pain and swelling localized to the area around the plugged gland. It sounds like your area of pain and swelling may be more diffuse and not exactly at the lid margin and thats why you don't recognize this as a stye yet. Your use of contacts makes this possibitity more likely as well.
Is your vision affected at all? Is a bruise developing in the area?
Hello Dr. Schuster,
My vision is not effected right now. My fiance had a stye a few weeks ago but his eye was swollen and red and more so on the eye lid than mine is. It is down more towards the check bone area. I went to the pharmacy and got some eye ointment(the pharmacist told me that he had a stye as you described) and this would probably help) for him and it seem to help him and his was better in a few days and has not had any problem since. Can I use the same ointment with wearing contacts or I need to take them out? I have not gotten new glasses yet in the new eye prescription. Also today my eye is constantly watering, with both of the corners hurting now and the swelling more noticeable. I had taken my contacts out for a few days and was wearing my old glasses but they sit on my face right where the eye is swollen and my eye had not gotten any better so I put them back in. I appreciate you advice as I do not have insurance at this time since my husband died and only go to the doctor when I must. Thank you for your advice.
Hello Marsha: You didn't mention whether your vision is adversely affected or not, but I assume from your answer above that it it not noticeably diminished (other than the tearing problem causing blur).
I would not use the ointment from another person (especially with contacts since they will just get coated with the grease.)
The best treatment for a stye is warm compresses. The plugged gland needs the heat to melt any solid plugging so the oil (or more whitish colored material) can flow out. Most people who try this don't use enough heat for long enough. A good way to do it would be to boil a large pan of water, take it to a table by your couch, (turn the tv on so you have something to do for the 20 minutes or so that you will be applying the heat). Dip a washcloth into the hot water: then wait for it to cool enough so that it won't burn your skin, then apply to the area of swelling. It will retain heat for about 2 minutes. Repeat this procedure until the water in the pan is not hot anymore. This will take about 20 minutes. You can repeat this later in the day if it does not cause the material causing the swelling to come out the normal gland opening or come straight out from the back of the lid onto your eye. (this exit of material is what you are trying to produce).
If you develop a fever or this swelling is not really in the lid then you will have to see a doctor.
The concern about the fever is that you can sometimes develop an infection in the skin from sinusitis or a stye. We call this preseptal cellulitis. If it spreads into the eye socket (orbit) then w call it orbital cellulitis and it is very dangerous. So, if this warm compress attempt does not really take care of the problem, or it is getting worse despite warm compresses, you should consult an ophthalmologist for oral antibiotics.