Styes can be quite uncomfortable and irritating. If you take care to perform proper hygiene while you have a stye, they can go away in a matter of days. In some severe cases, you may need to get the stye drained by a doctor. Book an appointment today with Mission Optometry for an eye examination if you are seeking more information on styes.
What is a Stye?
A stye is a red, painful lump near the edge of your eyelid that may look like a boil or a pimple. A stye usually forms on the outside of your eyelid, but sometimes it can form on the inner part of your eyelid.
In most cases, a stye will begin to disappear on its own in a couple of days. In the meantime, you can relieve some of the pain and discomfort of a stye by applying a warm washcloth or compress to your eyelid.
Some signs and symptoms of a stye are:
What Causes a Stye?
A stye is caused by an infection of oil glands in the eyelid. The bacterium staphylococcus is most commonly responsible for these infections.
Risk factors for styes include:
- Touching your eyes with unwashed hands
- Inserting your contact lenses without thoroughly disinfecting them or washing your hands first
- Leaving on eye makeup overnight
- Using old or expired cosmetics
- Having blepharitis, a chronic inflammation along the edge of the eyelid
- Having rosacea, a skin condition characterized by facial redness
Your doctor will usually diagnose a stye simply by looking at your eyelid. Your doctor might also use a light and a magnifying device to examine your eyelid in more detail.
How Long Does a Stye Take to Go Away?
If you can practice good hygiene and use a warm compress or washcloth, a stye can disappear in a few days. If the stye persists longer than normal, you may have to get it drained of its pus by a doctor.
In most cases, a stye will not require specific treatment, but using warm compresses can hasten the healing. A stye will typically go away on its own.
For a stye that persists, your doctor may recommend treatments such as:
- Antibiotics: Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or topical antibiotic cream for you to apply to your eyelid. If your stye continues to persist or spreads beyond your eyelid, your doctor may recommend antibiotics in tablet or pill form.
- Surgery to relieve pressure: If your stye doesn’t clear up, your doctor may make a small cut in it to drain the pus.
Until your stye goes away on its own, try to:
- Leave the stye alone: Don’t try to pop the stye – doing so can cause the infection to spread.
- Clean your eyelid: Gently wash the affected area with soap and water.
- Place a warm washcloth over your closed eye: To relieve the pain caused by a stye you can run warm water over a clean washcloth, then wring out the washcloth and place it over your closed eye. Re-wet the washcloth when it loses heat and continue this process for 5 to 10 minutes while gently massaging the eyelid. Repeating this two to three times a day may encourage the stye to drain on its own.
- Keep your eye clean and do not wear eye makeup until the stye has completely disappeared.
- Go without contact lenses: Contact lenses can be contaminated with bacteria associated with a stye. If you wear contacts, try to go without them until your stye goes away.
To prevent eye infections:
- Wash your hands.
- Take care with cosmetics: You can reduce your risk of recurring eye infections by avoiding old cosmetics. Take care not to share your cosmetics with others and don’t wear eye makeup overnight.
- Make sure your contact lenses are clean.
- Apply warm compresses: If you’ve had a stye before, using a warm compress regularly may help prevent it from coming back.
- Manage blepharitis: If you currently have blepharitis, ask your doctor for instructions on caring for your eyes.