An increasing number of children are getting red bumps on their eyelids, or styes, accounting for about 20 percent of eye infection cases, due to a diet of high-fat foods, such as fried chicken and french fries, an ophthalmologist said yesterday.
Citing a recent case, Yen Min-fang (顏敏芳), director of Shutien Memorial Hospital’s ophthalmology department, said that a four-year-old girl suffered from a recurrence of styes, with five swollen bumps on her eyelids when she visited the clinic a couple of months after the first onset of the symptoms.
She was diagnosed with multiple hordeola and chalazion, and underwent a minor operation.
Yen said the number of child patients with styes has increased recently, most of whom are between the ages of three and seven.
“Children these days tend to have too much fatty food and dislike drinking water. This might result in excessive production of sebum, which then triggers the incidence of styes,” she said.
Styes are caused by the blocking of sweat or sebaceous glands at the base of eyelashes, which then become infected and lead to common symptoms such as burning pain and pus-filled abscesses, Yen said.
“While a hordeolum is caused by both obstruction to the glands and bacteria infection, a chalazion is caused by a blocked duct of the gland without the infection,” she said.
Yen advised people against regular consumption of high-calorie and deep fried foods (poor nutrition), staying up late (sleep deprivation) and habitual rubbing of the eyes.
Those with minimal symptoms can apply warm compressions and antibiotic eye drops or ointments to the affected eye, she said.
“If necessary, those with persistent styes can choose to have them surgically removed under local anesthesia or general anesthesia if they are children,” Yen added.