Several home remedies and best practices can help most styes clear faster. If the stye is persistent or severe, a person can get medications or have it surgically removed.

Styes are swollen glands that form along the edge of the eyelid, close to the lashes. Sometimes, a stye can occur inside or under the eyelid.

Styes are the result of a bacterial infection. Although styes are not normally serious, they can be irritating and painful.

There are two types of stye, depending on their location. External styes occur at the base of an eyelash follicle. By contrast, internal styes occur in the oil glands inside.

This article discusses the home treatments, causes, and symptoms of styes.

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Styes usually occur in one eye at a time, though it is possible for both eyes to have a stye.

Early symptoms of a stye are generally mild and may include slight discomfort or redness along the lash line. The affected eye may also be irritating.

As the stye develops, other symptoms may include:

  • a discolored bump that resembles a pimple along the eyelid that is close to the eyelashes
  • a small yellow spot in the middle of the bump
  • feeling as though something is in the eye
  • light sensitivity
  • eye discharge or crustiness along the eyelid
  • excessive tear production

A chalazion produces similar symptoms, but the bump is hard and painless.

Styes are bacterial infections of an oil gland or hair follicle on the eyelid. Staphylococcus bacteria are the most common cause of styes.

Styes often occur if debris blocks the oil glands or hair follicles of the eyelid. These blockages can trap bacteria, resulting in an infection.

Risk factors

Anyone can develop a stye in their eye, but there are certain factors that can increase the risk of developing them:

  • previously having styes
  • certain skin conditions like rosacea or dermatitis
  • other medical issues including diabetes, that impair immune function
  • using old makeup or not completely removing eye makeup on a regular basis

Most styes clear up on their own in 1-2 weeks.

However, people can often prevent styes from forming, or reduce irritation from existing styes with home remedies.

The following tips will minimize the duration of a stye and prevent recurrences:

  • Using a warm compress: A warm compress can help to reduce swelling and inflammation. This is often the most effective home treatment.
  • Washing hands regularly: Regular handwashing prevents particles from reaching the eye and clogging up the glands. This can prevent styes from developing and reduces irritation of an existing stye.
  • Do not pop styes: Squeezing and popping a stye can release pus and spread the infection.
  • Altering makeup habits: Covering the stye with makeup can slow healing and irritate the stye. More bacteria can also be spread into the region by makeup brushes and pencils.

Styes typically resolve on their own without medical intervention. However, if a person has persistent or repeated styes, doctors may prescribe topical or oral antibiotics.

The doctor may also give a steroid injection to reduce swelling or inflammation in the stye.

If these treatments don’t work or the stye converts into a chalazion and impacts vision surgical removal may be necessary. For this procedure, the doctor will inject numbing medication around the affected area. They will then make a little opening in the stye to drain the infected fluid.

If the stye doesn’t go away within a few days of applying warm compresses or keeps recurring despite treatment, people are recommended to see a doctor.

Other signs that it is time to see a doctor include if:

  • the stye gets worse very quickly
  • it is bleeding
  • it starts to affect vision
  • the stye spreads to the white of the eye
  • there is redness in the cheeks or other parts of the face

Styes are discolored, swollen bumps on the eyelid. They can occur in follicles at the base of an eyelash, or in glands on the inside of the eyelid.

Styes are the result of a bacterial infection, most commonly the Staphylococcus bacteria. Most styes resolve independently within 1-2 weeks. Maintaining good eye hygiene and applying warm compresses can help to reduce the severity of existing lumps.

Written by Nicole Galan