Discover how to get rid of a stye.
A stye is an eyelid infection that causes a tender, red bump near the edge of the eye. The infection is caused by a blockage of the sebaceous glands or by bacteria and can occur at the base of an eyelash (external stye) or inside one of the glands in the eyelid (internal).
A stye usually forms in one eye at a time, but you can get them in both eyes, especially if you didn’t treat the first stye that formed. A stye is usually a one-time problem that does not return once treated.
However, some styes can sometimes form again. What you think is a stye may also be a chalazion, a healed internal stye that is no longer contagious.
Although most red bumps near the edge of the eyelid, which often aren’t even styes, are harmless and usually heal on their own within a week or two, a stye can be a nuisance. Fortunately, there are a few home remedies that can help you get rid of a stye quickly, or at least reduce some of the swelling and discomfort it causes.
The first thing you should do if you have a stye is clean your eyelids. You can use diluted tearless baby shampoo on a cotton pad, washcloth, or makeup remover pad. Then rinse your eyelids with lukewarm water and gently pat them dry. You can also use a mild saline solution to clean your eyelids.
Wash your hands before and after touching the stye, and don’t share your towels or washcloths with others.
Another option is pre-moistened eyelid cleansing pads. You can find these products without a prescription at most pharmacies.
It’s a good idea to stop wearing eye makeup when you have a stye since covering it up can delay the healing process. Also, discard old makeup or applicators that may be contaminated.
Wear glasses instead of contact lenses until the stye heals.
You can help a stye heal faster by applying warm compresses for 10 to 15 minutes, three or four times a day.
Some people use tea bags to treat styes, but a traditional clean washcloth dipped in warm (not hot) water will do the trick. Wring out the washcloth until it stops dripping and place it over your closed eyes.
If you want to try a tea bag, wait for it to cool down to lukewarm, not hot, then place it on your eyelid for about 5-10 minutes. Use a different tea bag for each eye if you have more than one stye
Some people want to pop a stye to drain it quickly, like a pimple. However, no matter what you do, don’t get carried away with the anxiety and try to burst the stye!
Often the warmth of a hot compress is enough to cause it to open, drain and heal on its own, without causing trauma to the eyelid or possibly spreading the infection through pressure.
You can use over-the-counter antibiotic creams to help heal a stye, but be sure to use creams made specifically for the eyes and avoid topical steroids.
Also, antibiotic eye drops are not known to help eliminate styes. If a stye is serious enough to require antibiotics, it’s probably best to see your doctor.
A gentle massage, done with clean hands, a warm compress, or a warm washcloth can sometimes relieve the pain of a stye. A massage can also promote the drainage of the stye. Opt for a gentle massage and stop if you feel pain.
• Painkillers: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, may relieve pain or discomfort, but they don’t help speed the healing of a stye.
• Home Remedies: The best way to relieve pain from a stye is to use warm compresses or washcloths and help the stye heal as quickly as possible.
There are things you can do to prevent styes.
• Cleanse your face and remove your makeup every night.
• Clean your eyelids daily with diluted baby shampoo.
• Use an over-the-counter eyelid cleanser.
• Always wash your hands before touching your contact lenses and be sure to disinfect and clean your contact lenses according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Bacteria can grow on makeup, so replace your eye makeup every 2-3 months. Never share your makeup with anyone.
• Avoid rubbing your eyes if you feel itchy, especially if you haven’t just washed your hands.
• Avoid sharing pads or masks with someone who has a stye.
In most cases, a stye can be cured with home remedies in 3 to 5 days. The swelling should start to go down after 2-3 days. If you need to see a doctor or use antibiotics for a more severe stye, it should still heal after about a week.
If you have recurring styes, you may have blepharitis. Taking steps to quickly treat this eyelid problem will also help prevent recurrences.
You should see your doctor if:
• Your stye does not improve after a few days.
• Your stye is getting worse.
• Your eye is sore rather than just your eyelid.
• Your vision is affected.
• Your eyelid swells or becomes very red.
• Your eye does not fully open.
• The problem is internal and home remedies or over-the-counter solutions are of no help
• The stye continues to grow
In some cases, styes may require minor surgery by an eye doctor, followed by prescription stye medication or antibiotics.
If your doctor recommends surgery, it’s a fairly simple procedure that involves opening and draining the stye.