A stye is a painful pimple that looks like a red pimple that forms on the edge of the eyelid. Sometimes the follicle of an eyelash or a sebaceous gland in the eyelid becomes infected. Although this swelling is often red and painful, it usually goes away on its own within a week. Despite the pain and irritation, styes are generally harmless. You can take action to relieve pain and reduce swelling, and to prevent styes from coming back.
Part 1 of 2: Treat the stye
Step 1. Clean the stye
Styes usually appear randomly, but they can sometimes appear after the eye is exposed to foreign substances (such as dust or makeup). The stye itself is a small bacterial infection. If it develops into a stye, the first thing you need to do is clean the area.
- Wash your hands well, then use a cotton ball or your clean hands to gently clean the stye with warm water. You can also use a special cleanser or baby shampoo that doesn't sting the eyes.
- Make sure your hands and the cotton ball are clean before using it. Otherwise, you could spread even more dirt and germs on it.
- Styes are most often caused by a staph entering the hair follicle or gland at the corner of the eye, often touching your eyes with your dirty hands. However, other bacteria can also cause styes.
Step 2. Apply a warm compress
The painful swelling caused by the stye can be treated with a warm compress. Prepare a warm compress with a clean towel or another piece of cloth that you soak in hot water. Put the compress on your eye and let it act for five to ten minutes.
- Once the compress has cooled, re-dip it in hot water and repeat for five to ten minutes.
- Apply the hot compress three to four times a day. Be consistent in the treatment until the stye is gone.
- You can also use moist, warm (but not hot) tea bags. Some people recommend chamomile tea which may have calming properties.
- The heat from the compress can also cause the stye to deflate or release pus. If this happens, gently rinse the stye. Don't press or squeeze it, just apply light pressure to it.
- Once the pus comes out of the stye, the symptoms should go away quickly.
Step 3. Do not squeeze or try to pop the stye yourself
It may be tempting to press on it to force the pus out of the stye, but resist the temptation. You could make the situation worse by bursting the stye, as you will spread the infection or cause it to penetrate deeper and you could even cause a scar to appear.
Step 4. Use an antibacterial cream
Buy an over-the-counter cream designed to treat styes that you can get at a drugstore. If you are not sure which type of cream to use, discuss the different options available with your pharmacist. Apply a small dab on the stye and be careful not to get in the eye.
- These creams will help you heal your stye faster.
- The local anesthetic in many of these creams will temporarily relieve you of the discomfort caused by a stye. However, if you did get it in your eye, this local anesthetic could cause significant damage there. Apply it with extreme caution.
- If you get any cream in your eye, rinse it gently with warm water. Then contact your doctor.
- Do not use more than the dose prescribed on the package.
Step 5. Try a home remedy
There are some natural substances that can help heal styes and reduce pain and swelling. Avoid getting it in your eyes as well, and if you experience stinging or discomfort, stop using it right away. Even if there is no medical evidence for their effects in the eyes, you should still avoid getting them in the eyes.
- Use a lotion made from coriander seeds. Soak coriander seeds in water for an hour, strain the liquid, and use the resulting lotion to rinse your eyes. These seeds are known to possess qualities that reduce the swelling caused by styes.
- Use aloe vera. Aloe vera helps you reduce swelling and redness. Cut an aloe vera leaf lengthwise and apply the pulp to the inside of the affected area. If you cannot find whole aloe vera leaves, you can use a compress soaked in aloe vera juice. Some people even prefer to use a mixture of aloe vera juice and chamomile tea.
- Use a compress with guava leaves. It is a popular home remedy used to reduce the pain and swelling caused by styes. Wet guava leaves in hot water and apply them to your eye for 10 minutes.
- Use potatoes. Reduce potatoes into a paste and spread it out on a clean, soft cloth. Then apply it on the stye to decrease the swelling.
Step 6. Use an over-the-counter pain reliever
If your stye hurts badly, use a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to relieve the discomfort for the first few days. Choose an NSAID that contains aspirin or ibuprofen for immediate pain relief.
- Take only the doses recommended on the package.
- Do not give aspirin to children under the age of 18.
Step 7. See a doctor
Seek treatment if the stye doesn't go away after a week. If you are in a lot of pain, if the redness or swelling spreads, or if your vision becomes affected, see a doctor immediately. If the condition of the stye gets worse, it could be the result of another underlying problem and you may receive one of the following treatments.
- Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, especially if you have bacterial conjunctivitis. This disorder usually goes away very quickly after taking antibiotics.
- The doctor might insert a needle or a thin blade into the stye to puncture it. He will burst the stye to let the pus it contains flow out through a small hole to make the stye disappear.
- If you suffer from a skin problem like rosacea or seborrhea, you might be susceptible to blepharitis, an inflammation of the edges of the eyelids. In this case, your doctor will advise you to change your personal hygiene practices around the eyes.
- If you don't already have an ophthalmologist, you can ask your GP to recommend one or you can search the Internet for one in your city or region.
- You should not hesitate to see a doctor at any time. It is not necessary to wait a week before contacting your doctor.
Part 2 of 2: prevent styes from reappearing
Step 1. Wash your eyelids
If you often get styes, your eyes may be particularly susceptible to bacterial infections. Use a clean towel and some mild shampoo, such as baby shampoo, or use a special cleanser to rub your eyelids. Rinse well with hot water.
If you are very concerned about styes, you should clean your eyelids every day
Step 2. Wash your hands before touching your face
One of the most common ways to get a stye is by transferring bacteria from your hands to your eyes. Avoid rubbing or touching your eyes.
Wash your towels regularly and never share a washcloth or towel with someone who has a stye
Step 3. Clean your contact lenses well
If you wear contact lenses you are going to need to touch your eyes often, so make sure they are clean every time you put them on or take them off. Contact lenses by themselves can also transmit bacteria, which is why you should make sure to use a cleaning solution to wash them every day.
- Do not wear your contact lenses if you have a stye. By putting on a contact lens while you have a stye, you increase the risk of transmission of the infection from the stye to the cornea below.
- Don't wear your contact lenses longer than you should. If you have disposable contact lenses that you only need to wear for one day, throw them out at the end of the day. If you have monthly contact lenses that need to be replaced every month, be sure to put on new lenses after the four weeks have passed.
- Do not wear contact lenses overnight. Even contact lenses designed to be worn overnight can cause problems if you tend to have styes often.
- Always follow the directions of your ophthalmologist on how to properly use your contact lenses. Do not wear contact lenses in situations where you do not need to, such as when swimming (unless you are wearing tight-fitting swimming goggles).
Step 4. Apply your makeup correctly
Eyeliner and eye shadow that you apply under the edge of the eyelid can cause styes, especially if you tend to put on a lot and reapply during the day. Apply makeup above the lash line and limit the amount applied.
- Don't go to bed with your makeup on. Use makeup remover to clean your makeup, then cleanse your face by spraying it with hot water to rinse it off before you go to bed.
- Replace your makeup and applicators frequently. The brushes, chopsticks and pencils you use for makeup get dirty over time and could give you bacteria every time you use them.
- Just like contact lenses, pencils, brushes, and other makeup supplies come in frequent contact with your eyes. If they contain harmful bacteria, they can very easily cause styes.
- Don't share your makeup with other people.
- If you wear contact lenses, instead wear glasses while you have a stye.
- To temporarily relieve a stye, put a slice of cucumber on your eye and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes.
- If you don't want to buy new makeup brushes, just use antibacterial soap and olive oil to clean your brushes.
- To relieve yourself, place a hot, wet tea bag over your eye.
- If you have a stye, avoid swimming, and if you must, only go to a properly treated pool that contains chlorine, and wear goggles at all times. Don't let others touch your things and don't touch your eye.
- Wet the stye with lukewarm water for 5 minutes every day.
- Never give aspirin to anyone under the age of 18, as it can cause Reye's disease. Acetaminophen is a possible option, but your best bet is to ask your doctor.
- It would be best if you consult your doctor before trying to treat a stye at home.
- Do not try to burst the stye at home. You could make the infection worse by spreading bacteria, and you could also create a scar.
- Do not apply makeup around the eye where the stye is located, as this may make the problem worse.