An eight year-old’s lower lid revealed a small bump. My diagnosis was a sty. As I explained, the mother held out her cell phone.
“I e-mailed our doctor two days ago,” she explained. I saw a photo of the child’s face and the doctor’s message which diagnosed an eye infection and prescribed antibiotic drops.
“The drops aren’t working, so I might need something stronger,” she added. The photograph was not too revealing. I offered to discuss matters with the doctor, but he wasn’t available.
Most stys go away without treatment although hot compresses are supposed to help. Drops aren’t necessary.
I explained this, being careful to add that the child had a real problem but one that didn’t require medicine.
This often doesn’t work, and it didn’t work this time. She looked uneasy. I knew she was thinking, “The doctor’s not giving me anything. So he must think there’s nothing wrong. But look at the eye…”
She perked up when I told her she could continue using the drops. Everyone knows that when you have an eye problem, you need eye drops.