How to treat a stye?


A stye is a red bump just outside the eye. It develops because of bacteria, often staphylococcus, that get blocked into little oil glands located in the eyelid.


It is nothing dangerous but can be annoying, as it is painful and swollen, itchy and sore and can increase the tear production.


A stye is not contagious and cannot affect your vision. It takes usually up to 10 days to heal completely.


Styes are easy to get rid off and can also be avoided. Here are a few tricks to make it easier.



How can you prevent styes to form?



You should always wash your hands, using soap, before touching your eyes.

You should clean your eyelids with a cotton bud and mild gentle soap.

You should make sure you remove every eye makeup before sleeping.

And finally you should try not to share a towel with someone having a stye.



How to fasten the healing process of a stye?



Without taking medicines:


  • - Use hot water on your eye


Warmth dissolves the pus quickly and so helps the stye drain. The best way is to use a warm clean washcloth, placing it over your eyes and keeping it like this for 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure you do not press on the stye.



  • - Use a tea bag


Instead of the compress you can use a teabag to warm your eye. Tea has interesting properties that can only do well to your eye. Black tea particularly has good antibacterial properties. Once again keep it for 5 to 10 minutes on your eyes, using a different bag for each eye.



  • - Clean your eyes with the good products


The best combination is baby shampoo and warm water, that you can apply using a cotton bud. Do it every day and be gentle. You can also use a saline solution, as it is good for drainage.



  • - Massage the area around the stye


Massaging the area can help draining but you need to be very gentle and to make sure your hands are perfectly clean. If it start draining, just leave the area clean and stop touching.



A woman is pressing on her closed eyes




If you really need medicines:


  • - Get over-the-counter painkillers


Any pharmacy would provide you with common painkillers such as ibuprofen. Do not take more than the recommended dosage.



  • - Get antibiotic ointments


You can find at the pharmacy over-the-counter antibiotic ointments that specifically treat styes. Ask your pharmacist first as antibiotics should be used with caution and make sure not to apply more than a quarter-inch of the ointment inside the eyelid.



  • - Consult your GP if needed


Your doctor could provide you with a steroid shot to counter swelling, but can also drain your stye if it affects your vision. Most of the time, styes do not require to visit a GP, go only if it lasts too long or if the side effects are too constraining.



Remember always to clean your hands before touching your eyes and to avoid wearing make-up and contact lenses until the stye has disappeared!

Julia from Findoc