Are you wondering how to get rid of a stye on your eyelid? You’re not alone, almost everyone will experience the pain and discomfort of a stye at some point in their life.
Some people confuse a chalazion for a stye. Though they look alike, they are different. A chalazion starts as a firm lump or cyst under the skin of the eyelid. It’s not painful. It grows more slowly than a stye. If it gets large, it may affect your vision.
What is a stye?
A stye is a small, tender, and red bump outside or inside your eyelid. It looks like a sore or a pimple on your eyelid. It is filled with pus.
There are a lot of oil glands around your eyelashes. Dead skin, dirt or oil build-up can block the pores of the oil glands. When the oil glands are blocked, bacteria can grow inside and cause a stye to develop.
Most styes occur along the edge of the eyelid. They are caused by the build-up of bacteria called Staphylococcus in the eye. This results in an infection.
The two types of styes that can affect the eyes are:
- Internal stye: It develops inside the eyelid. It occurs when an oil-producing gland gets infected. It is also called hordeolum.
- External stye: It develops along the edge of the eye. It looks like a pimple. It occurs when a hair follicle gets infected.
It’s not a serious medical condition. You should not squeeze or pop a stye. It can spread the infection or make it worse. It does not affect your vision unless it’s left untreated for a long time.
People usually have styes on just one eyelid, but you can have them in both eyes at the same time.
Styes that reoccur might be linked to an eye condition called blepharitis. If you get styes a lot, talk to your eye doctor.
Symptoms associated with styes
When a stye is present, symptoms may include:
- small pus spot at the center of the stye bump
- Pain in the eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Increased tear production
- The sensation of something being stuck in the eye.
- Swelling around the eye
- Crust along the eyelid margin.
- Soreness of the eye
- Itchy eye
Getting rid of styes that won’t go away
Styes can be painful and uncomfortable, but they are rarely serious. Most will go away on their own without treatment. However, there are some styes that won’t go away after several days.
There are many ways to treat a stye. Some treatments can be done at home without any prescriptions or assistance from a doctor. It’s important to only use approved treatments and methods to alleviate the symptoms.
If a stye does not respond to home treatments, medical treatment may be required. This will help to reduce your discomfort and to encourage your stye to heal.
It’s important to start treating a stye as soon as it is noticed. You can do a few things to get rid of them faster.
Treating your styes at home
Styes are sore to touch and they are itchy.
You need to keep the eye area clean. This helps to bring the pus out. The pus will drain on its own. Home treatment can get rid of a stye overnight or within 1 to 2 days.
The following home treatments can get rid of styes that won’t go away:
- Warm compress
Using a warm compress is the most effective way of treating styes. Wash your hands before applying a compress. Take a clean washcloth and soak it with warm water.
Squeeze out the excess water and place it on the affected eye for 5 to 10 minutes. The warmth of the washcloth brings the pus to the surface. It dissolves the pus and oil and allows the stye to drain naturally.
Do not use hot water because it could burn the delicate skin around the eyes. Do this about four times per day, using a clean washcloth each time.
- Gentle massage
Massaging the area helps to promote drainage. Gently massage the affected area with clean hands. You can use your fingertips or lid wipes to do this. Do not squeeze the stye or poke the eye. This could increase the risk of further infection that could spread into the eye.
You must be careful when using this method. Once the stye drains, keep the area clean, and avoid touching your eyes. Stop massaging if it hurts you.
- Saline solution
You can use a saline solution to wash the infected eye. This helps to break down the bacteria. It also promotes drainage. Cleaning your eyelids helps to prevent future styes.
- Using a warm tea bag
Add boiled water to a mug, then drop a tea bag in it. Let the tea steep for about 1 minute. Remove it and wait for the tea bag to cool slightly. Place the warm tea bag on the affected eye for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Use a separate tea bag for each eye. You can do this compress twice daily to reduce the discomfort associated with stye. Black tea works best because it helps to reduce swelling. It also has some antibacterial properties.
- Avoid wearing makeup and contact lenses
Do not wear makeup when you have a stye. Makeup can irritate the eye. It can make it worse and delay the healing process. You can also transfer bacteria to your makeup and tools, and spread the infection to your other eye.
If you wear contact lenses, stick with glasses until your stye heals. Bacteria from the stye can get onto the contacts and spread the infection. Wear a new set of contact lenses when the stye heals to prevent reinfection.
- Using OTC painkillers
Styes can cause significant pain. You can take an over-the-counter (OTC) painkiller like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to get relief. Follow the instructions on the package to ensure you are taking the correct dose.
If the pain gets so serious and interferes with your day-to-day activity, visit your doctor.
- Using OTC antibiotic ointments
You can apply an OTC antibiotic ointment to the affected area. Pull the lid of the affected eye and apply the ointment inside the eyelid.
Ensure that the ointment you use is made to be used in or on the eye. Avoid using topical steroids for your stye. They may cause side effects.
- Cleaning the eye with water and mild soap
You can use a mild baby shampoo and mix with warm water. Dip a cotton swab or clean washcloth into the mixture and gently wipe off your eyelids. You can do this every day until the stye is gone.
You should use hypoallergenic shampoo when cleaning the affected area. Avoid using harsh, synthetic chemicals when cleaning the eye area.
If your eyelid becomes inflamed and the pain is getting worse, get it checked out immediately by your eye doctor.
Treating your styes in the hospital
Many people respond to home treatments and do not require further care. If after 48 hours of home treatments, the stye does not respond, seek medical assistance.
To get rid of a stye that won’t go away, you need to visit your eye doctor. You should see your doctor to treat a stye that;
- is excessively painful
- interferes with vision
- won’t go away with OTC treatment
Your doctor may recommend medications and treatment for your stye, such as:
- oral antibiotic medication
- antibiotic eye drops
- antibiotic ointment, like erythromycin
- steroid injection in the eyelid to help reduce swelling
If a stye gets very large, your doctor may need to pierce it so it can drain and heal. Do not try to pierce it yourself.
Ensure you see your doctor for a follow-up appointment to make sure the stye has cleared up properly.
Reducing your risk of getting a stye
A stye can develop on your eye for no reason at all. However, you can reduce your risk of getting a stye by practicing good hygiene. Here are some measures you can take to reduce your chances of getting a stye:
- If you need to touch your eyes or face, wash your hands first with soap and warm water.
- Avoid sleeping with your contact lenses on.
- Wash off makeup, sweat, and excess oil before going to bed and after working out to prevent blocked oil glands.
- Wash and dry your hands before handling your contacts. Keep your lenses clean and disinfected. Discard used daily-wear contact lenses and wear a fresh pair.
- Clean your makeup brushes regularly. Avoid sharing makeup or brushes with anyone else.
- Protect your eyes from dust and air pollution when you can. You can wear safety glasses when you do dusty chores like raking or mowing the lawn.
- Replace your eye makeup every 2 or 3 months to avoid bacteria.
- If you get styes often, wash your eyelids regularly with a little bit of baby shampoo mixed in warm water.
- Don’t rub your eyes if you have allergies.
Styes aren’t contagious, but you can spread the infection around the same eye or into your other eye.
Anyone can get a stye. You can’t always prevent it. Practising good hygiene, especially around your eyes, can help reduce your risk of getting a stye.
You don’t have to live with the pain and irritation caused by styes. You can get rid of a stye that won’t go away by following the above recommendations.