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  1. What is a Stye?
  2. Stye Symptoms
  3. Stye Treatment and Remedies
  4. Are Styes Contagious?
  5. Stye Prevention Measures
  6. How Long Does a Stye Last?
  7. When to Contact Your Doctor About Your Stye?

What is a Stye?

A Stye (Hordeolum) is a red bump, similar to a pimple. It usually forms on either outside or inside the edge of the eyelid (1). Your eyelids have lots of little oil glands, especially near your eyelashes. These small holes could easily get clogged to blocked by dead skin, dirt, other buildups. A blocked gland allows bacteria to grow inside, which leads to the development of a stye.

Stye Symptoms

Here are some of the symptoms of Stye (2):

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Increased tear production
  • Crust formation around the eyelid
  • soreness
  • Itchiness

If your Stye is not causing any pain, it may be a chalazion (3). The treatments for Stye also works for chalazion, but it may take longer to heal.

Stye Treatment and Remedies

Styes usually burst out or go away on their own within a week or two. However, several remedies are there to speed up the Stye healing process:

Warm Compress

A warm compress is one of the most effective solutions for Stye. The warmth of the compress stimulates the pus and brings it to the surface. It later dissolves the oil and pus to induce the natural drain of a stye.

You could take a clean washcloth for the Stye treatment. Wet it with warm water; make sure that it is not too hot. Keep the cloth damp, however, make sure to wring it to avoid any dripping. Next, gently put it over the affected eye for about 5 to 10 minutes. You could repeat it 3-4 times every day.

Cleaning the Eyelid with Mild-Soap and Water

Make sure you use hypoallergenic and non irritating mild soap while cleaning your eyelid. Avoid harsh, synthetic chemicals that may harm your eyelid.

Remember that the skin around your eyes is thinner and sensitive compared to the rest of your face. Hence, be careful with the products you choose to apply near your eye area.

You could also use tear-free baby shampoo and some warm water. Use it to gently wipe your eyelids using a cotton swab or a clean washcloth. Another option to promote the drainage of the style is using a saline solution. Clean your eyelids every day until the Stye is gone. Cleaning your eyelids regularly also helps to prevent future Styes.

Warm Tea Bag

You can also use a warm tea bag instead of a warm cloth compress. Black tea is one of your best options since it helps reducing a swell and also has some antibacterial properties.

OTC Pain Medication

You could take over the counter pain medication to relieve the Stye symptoms. Make sure you are taking the right dose, refer to the instructions on the package.

Visit your doctor if the Stye is causing severe pain or interfering with your everyday activities.

Avoid Wearing Makeup and Contact Lenses

Makeup can irritate the eye even more and delay the healing process of your Stye. There are risks of bacteria transferring to your makeup and tools. It may spread the infection to your other eye.

If you have a Stye, switch to glasses until it heals. Your contacts may get bacteria from it and spread the infection. Make sure you get a new set of lenses once it cures to prevent reinfection.

Antibiotic Ointments

You can apply the OTC antibiotic ointments for Stye treatment.

However, visit your doctor to treat a stye if it is:

  • causing excessive pain
  • interfering with your vision
  • won’t go away with OTC treatment

However, make sure the products you use are for in or on the eye.


You could massage the affected area along with the wipes to promote drainage. Gently massage the area with clean hands. Stop the massage if it hurts.

Get a Medical Treatment From Your Doctor

Your doctor may prescribe you an antibiotic cream for a bacterial infection. He may also get you a steroid shot if there is any inflammation to reduce the swelling. You may require a professional draining for your Stye if it is affecting your vision.

Are Styes Contagious?

Styes are not contagious, at least directly. However, it has a large number of bacteria in its pus that may cause other skin breakouts.

Make sure not to touch, pop, or squeeze a Stye. Doing so would release pus and may spread the infection.

Stye Preventive Measures

Here are some preventative measures you could take for Styes:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water before touching your eyes
  • Regularly cleaning your eyelids with warm water and mild shampoo or soap
  • Avoid sharing towels with someone who has a Stye

How Long Does a Stye Last?

The Style swellings usually last for three days, and later, it eventually breaks open and drains. The healing process may last up to 7 to 10 days with home remedies. Although Styes are rarely a cause of concern for any underlying medical condition, it could be highly irritating.

When to Contact Your Doctor About Your Stye?

Contact your physician if your Stye is:

  • Internal
  • Getting bigger
  • becoming more painful
  • doesn’t clear up
  • affecting your vision

You also need to see your doctor if you have recurring Styes. It may be due to underlying conditions like conjunctivitis, blepharitis, or cellulitis (4).