That helps quickly with a grain of barley

The small yellow, nasty itchy lumps on the eyelid are simply tormenting. With our tips you will quickly get rid of barley grains

The small yellow bubble at the edge of the eyelid looks so small in the mirror, but feels as if you have a scratchy tennis ball in your eye. Barley grains in the eye are painful and torturous, and you just want to get rid of them as quickly as possible. With these tips you can do it!

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What is a barleycorn as opposed to a hailstone?

A barleycorn (hordeolum) is a purulent inflammation of the eyelid. “Responsible is usually an infection caused by bacteria like staphylococci. In rare cases, streptococci and other germs are also the cause”, explains Professor Dr. med. Carl-Ludwig Schönfeld, specialist for ophthalmology in Munich. A barleycorn is formed when bacteria enter the lid gland. Anyone who rubs their eyes with unwashed hands, for example, easily risks a bacterial infection.

A barleycorn causes both sebaceous and sweat glands of the eyelid to become inflamed. This leads to an accumulation of pus. This has the characteristic form of a yellow knot and is therefore figuratively called a barleycorn. Inflammation can occur at several places in the eye. Two types are distinguished:

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  • Inner barleycorn (Hordeolum Internum): An inflammation of the inner side of the eyelid lying Meibom glands (named after the physician Heinrich Meibom)
  • outer stye (Hordeolum Externum): Here, the glands of the molar or minor gland lying on the outside of the eyelid become inflamed.

A hailstone (chalazion) on the other hand is a reddened knot on the eyelid. Its cause is not an infection, but a blocked sebaceous duct in which secretion accumulates. As a rule, hailstones do not hurt and disappear by themselves.

What are the symptoms of a barleycorn?

Typical symptoms are a swelling of the eye. In addition, the eye begins to redden and a painful pressure is caused. If you have ever had a grain of barley, you know it: you have the unpleasant feeling of feeling a grain of sand in your eye.

To prevent barley grains, you should always remove your make-up in the evening © Avesun/

How do I prevent a stye?

Above all, good eye hygiene is important, i.e.: wash your hands before touching your eye! Always keep your eyelid clean and try to avoid contamination by make-up. Especially important therefore: remove make-up in the evening! To cleanse your eye, Schönfeld Baby Shampoo should be applied to the eyelashes. “Leave the shampoo on your lashes for 1-2 minutes and rinse the eye with warm water again.” If you wear contact lenses, you should always clean them well and store them hygienically.

However, if you have an acute barleycorn, it is advisable to avoid contact lenses. If you also observe general rules of hygiene, no further measures are necessary. By the way, it is a myth that barley grains are contagious! This is rather true for bacterial or viral conjunctivitis.

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How do I treat a barleycorn?

Don’t worry: “Usually a grain of barley heals by itself. The yellow nodule bursts and the pus comes out,” says the expert. If you are healthy, your immune system will be able to deal with a barleycorn on its own. The less you tamper with your eye, the better. You don’t make it better by rubbing it, on the contrary: dirty fingers may make it worse. Some people are particularly prone to eyelid inflammation.

These include diabetics, people with a weak immune system, and patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.

4 tips for the treatment of a barley grain

  • Warm the affected eye Dr. Schönfeld recommends warming the eye, as barley grains open and heal faster when warm. “Moisten a washcloth with lukewarm water and leave it on the closed eye for 1-2 minutes. You can also irradiate the eye with red light.”
  • Medication Eye drops or eye ointments, which your eye doctor may prescribe for you, are remedies that are helpful for a barleycorn.
  • Do without make-up In case of an acute inflammation, you should definitely avoid mascara and co. as make-up can additionally irritate the eye.
  • Be careful with household remedies! Care should be taken with household remedies such as camomile and tea bags. Dr. Schönfeld explains: “Household remedies can be critical, as there is a possibility of allergies occurring that aggravate the clinical picture”.

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When should I start seeing a doctor?

If the barleycorn does not burst by itself after about 3-4 weeks, it is said Off to the eye doctor! Because: The inflammation can spread to the whole eye as well as the conjunctiva. “Your ophthalmologist can prescribe antibiotics and in particularly severe cases operate on the barleycorn. This involves opening the excretory duct of the lid gland and massaging pus out of the gland,” says Dr. Schönfeld. Important: Never put your hand on the eyelid and squeeze the sty!

If, in addition to the barleycorn, other symptoms of illness such as headaches or fever occur, you should also consult a doctor. The same applies if you suffer from a weak immune system.

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Barley grains are unpleasant, but usually heal by themselves. Make sure you maintain proper hygiene and only look at yourself with washed hands. If you get a barleycorn despite all measures, warm the affected area. If the painful inflammation does not disappear on its own after 3 weeks, it is said Off to the doctor!