How to Get Rid of a Stye
Whenever you suffer from a problem related to your eyes, there is going to be discomfort and a possible effect on your vision. Our eyes are vitally important after all, so any type of issue in that area can be distressing, to say the least.
There are many different eye conditions, and indeed skin conditions affecting the eyes, but one which is extremely common, is a stye on the eyelid. Swollen, red, sore, and itchy, a stye can ruin your day and will last for a few days beyond, until it clears up completely.
Whilst you can rest assured that a stye on the eye will usually disappear on its own, there are a few home remedies you can employ, which help to speed up the healing process, such as a hot compress or blepharitis eye mask, for instance.
These can help to encourage a reduction in inflammation (swelling), and will also soothe the soreness and itching.
Before we go on to talk about how to treat a stye, we really need to know what the condition is, what causes it, the symptoms, and how to knock it on the head sooner rather than later!
What is a Stye?
It may be the case that you have had a stye in the past, but it cleared up on its own, relatively quickly and you didn’t think much of it. That can be the case, but it is also common for a stye to be painful and very swollen.
Basically, a stye is a painful lump on the eyelid, or just inside it. Styes are commonly found in one eye, and not often on both, however, it isn’t impossible for this happen! So don’t worry if this is the case.
The lump can be painful, swollen, and filled with pus. It is basically an abscess which is caused by an eye infection, medically known as Staphylococcus bacteria. This is a very common infection, which can affect many different parts of the body.
Most people will experience a stye at least a couple of times in their lives, but some people are particularly prone to them. A stye can be visible to other people, your eye will be red and probably swollen. Having said that, your vision shouldn’t be affected by a stye.
The stye begins as a very small pimple or spot and is usually sited next to an eyelash. The redness and swelling will then begin to develop, usually quite quickly, and will remain for a few days at the most. The stye should then burst naturally and the healing process will quickly help the lump to disappear.
Types of Eye Styes
There are two different types of stye – an external stye, and an internal stye.
The difference is explained in the name, an external stye is found on the outside of the eyelid or next to the eyelash, along the side of the eye margin.
An internal stye is found on the underside of the eyelid. An internal stye may feel more painful, because of its location.
Styes can affect anyone, at any time in life, and usually, they are not dangerous. Despite that, they are certainly not comfortable.
Symptoms of a Stye
There are other eye conditions which are commonly confused with styes, namely blepharitis, and chalazion. You should always consult an eye specialist, before diagnosing the problem yourself. With an obvious external stye, there is usually a classic lump with a white head, this can be accompanied by pain and swelling.
If the stye is internal, you may not be able to see the white head very easily, however, the rest of the symptoms are likely to be the same. Your eyes are very sensitive if you recognize any unusual symptoms you should consult an eye specialist straight away.
Common Stye Symptoms
- A classic small, hard lump
- The lump will have a very small white ‘head’
- Tenderness close to the eyelid’s edge
- Heat on the lump and around it
- Watery eye
As we mentioned before, a stye on the eye does not usually affect vision, so if you find that your vision is affected, then you should seek help from your doctor, to rule out a different issue.
You should not attempt to pop or disrupt a stye like you may a pimple, allow the stye to rupture on its own. A stye inside the eyelid may not rupture and heal on its own, if you believe you have an internal stye you should contact your eye doctor, as they may need to drain it.
What Causes a Stye on Eyelids to Develop?
The main cause of a stye is the presence of the staphylococcus bacteria which triggers the development of the abscess lump. The bacteria live on the surface of the skin without issue most of the time, as many different forms of bacteria do.
However, when conditions are favourable, the bacteria begin to colonise with dead skin cells and other bacteria which can be found around the eyes, this can be made worse by not removing makeup regularly.
From that explanation, you can see that a stye, in theory, can be preventable through proper eye hygiene, but this isn’t always the case in reality.
Can You Do Anything to Prevent a Stye on Your Eye?
Yes and no.
Sometimes a stye will appear without any real rhyme or reason, but by ensuring you have good eye hygiene in the first place, you can work towards reducing the chances of an outbreak.
A good routine and set of rules to follow are:
- Always wash your face before bed
- Always remove makeup before going to bed
- Replace any make-up you use, e.g. mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, this should avoid bacteria building up within the cosmetic and on the brush or wand
- Ensure your eyelashes and eyelids are clean; this is especially important if you regularly suffer from blepharitis. You can incorporate a cleaning routine before bed, by gently cleaning your eyelids and lashes with a cotton wool pad and some warm water. Doing this regularly will help to avoid many other eyes conditions also.
- Don’t share a towel with someone who is currently suffering from a stye – this is an infection and therefore the condition is contagious when a stye is present
- Avoid rubbing your eyes, especially if you haven’t washed your hands
- Always wash your hands thoroughly throughout the day
If you find you are regularly suffering from styes then it is probably a sign that you need to improve your overall eye hygiene routine. Whilst having a good routine doesn’t mean that you won’t develop a stye, it does go a long way towards prevention.
Using regular warm compresses, such as a blepharitis eye mask, can also help to curb a stye before it really has the chance to develop properly. If you have ever had a stye before, you will notice the early warning signs, such as a dull soreness and the forming of a small bump.
If you can use the warm compress at this stage, you will be able to at least cut down on some of the severity, and the length of time that the stye is present.
If you manage to prevent the formation, then that’s great; but, if you do notice the development, then there are some easy to follow guidelines for stye on eye treatment.
How to Treat a Stye on The Eyelid
The treatment for stye formation is really a mixture of self-care and occasionally, medication. There is unlikely to be many occasions where you will need to consult a doctor about how to treat a stye, however, if you notice that your eyesight is affected or the swelling doesn’t go down then you should check it out with a doctor.
In these cases, your doctor will examine the eye and may decide to burst the stye with a sterilised needle, or possibly remove the eyelash that is situated directly next to where the stye is located.
Under no circumstances should you try to do any of the above yourself, as could you make the situation much, much worse. In some cases, there is the possibility of referral to an eye specialist, if the styes are recurrent and troublesome.
How to Get Rid of a Stye Yourself
Most of the time, self-care is enough to help the stye go away quickly, and these methods all hinge on you ensuring that your hands are super-clean before touching your eye, and you should wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
Remember, a stye is as a result of an infection, and that means that it is contagious; there is the possibility that it could spread to the other eye, or that you could pass it on to someone else, e.g. by sharing towels.
As a quick note of caution, although the stye is a lump which is filled with pus, it is not a spot, and therefore you should never attempt to burst it. If you do this, you risk further infection and you may cause further more severe problems.
You should avoid wearing contact lenses until the stye has cleared up and you should also avoid using make-up within this area.
Stye on the eyelid treatment can be simple
- Take a clean, soft cloth and soak it in warm water
- Wring out the water until it is damp but still warm
- Hold the cloth to the affected eye for around 10-15 minutes and sit back and relax! Close your eye whilst you are holding the warm compress to your eye, as this will help with the reduction in inflammation
- Repeat the process four times per day whilst you have the stye, and remember to wash the cloth thoroughly after every application
When a Stye is about to Burst
You will notice after a short while that the stye will come to a head, it will feel more painful and will reach its crescendo in terms of swelling. This is when it is about to burst.
When this happens, continue with your warm compress routine, as this will help to take away some of the pressure, easing the soreness and pain, whilst also encouraging the stye to burst.
Do not be tempted to help it on its way – this is the number one rule on how to get rid of a stye! Once the stye has burst, clean the area carefully and pat dry.
It is fine to take painkillers to help with the pain of a stye, in conjunction with the self-care routine described above.
To help with any reoccurrence, it’s a good idea to think ahead. A blepharitis eye mask may have the name ‘blepharitis’ in it, but it can be used for a variety of different eye conditions with relative ease.
You can warm up or cool down the eye mask, to give you relief from soreness and pain, it also helps to alleviate swelling. If you have regular eye conditions, then it is a great idea to have one of these masks at home, for easy reach when you need it the most.
That’s How to Get Rid of a Stye
As you can see, a stye can be a painful and upsetting experience, but it is not a dire emergency unless it is causing you visual problems or severe pain inside the eye.
Using self-care measures will help the stye heal much faster. Ensure you maintain a good hygiene routine for your eyes, this will cut down the chances of a stye developing in the first place.
It’s all about cleanliness and relief of the symptoms, the warm compress will help to draw out the bacteria, encouraging the stye to burst, this then allows healing to commence. Remember the number one rule, do not attempt to burst the stye yourself!