If you notice a small, tender, red bump on the inside or outside of your eyelid, there’s a good chance you have a stye. Although styes are common conditions that can affect the eye, they can be quite bothersome and annoying. They not only hurt but can also look unattractive and may make you never want to step outside again.
Aside from influencing small changes in your daily life, styes are relatively harmless. They form when a pore near your eyelashes or a gland along your eyelid gets clogged. This is the same way a skin gland can become blocked and turn into a pimple.
The Harmful Effects of Stye
Styes can have many different appearances but often look like a red bump with a small pus dot right in the center. You may also notice crust along the eyelid, a scratchy feeling, or pain around the eye. Some people feel an uneasy sensation as if there’s something in their eye that they just can’t get out.
Luckily, there are plenty of remedies for getting rid of these unsightly eye bumps just like a pink eye (conjunctivitis). In this article, you’ll find effective methods for treating styes and their unwanted symptoms.
10 Tips for Treating Styes
It generally takes about one week for a stye to heal after it opens and drains. If you follow these 10 tips, you should be able to handle it on your own without medical assistance. In the rare chance that your stye doesn’t improve, be sure to contact your doctor or medical professional as soon as possible. Here are 10 tips on how to get rid of a stye.
1. Warm Compress
The simplest and most effective way to combat styes, applying a warm compress to the infection can work wonders. The heat eases the inflammation around the eye, allowing the pus and oil within to dissolve. This natural draining process helps relieve pressure and discharges the pain surrounding the stye. The compress also causes it to shrink.
The process is very easy, and there are many different ways you can go about it. First, wet a clean piece of cloth with warm water. Ensure the cloth is not too hot, and that the fabric is only damp and not dripping. Place the compress over your eye for around ten minutes.
As you feel the cloth growing colder, you can always refresh it by putting it back under the warm water. Be sure to hold the cloth on your eye gently, as you don’t want to damage, puncture, or squeeze the stye. You can use the compress at least three times every day until the stye eventually disappears but using it more often in the first couple of days can help relieve the pain just as in sciatic nerve.
Another option is to get a damp washcloth and put it in the microwave for 10 seconds. Sometimes this method works faster than waiting for the kitchen sink water to heat up, but you also run the risk of getting food particles on the cloth. If your microwave is clean, however, this can be a quicker method of heating the cloth, and perfect for if you’re on the go.
2. Teabag Compress
Similarly to the way a warm cloth works, a warm tea compress can be an effective tool for combatting styes. The difference between them is that black tea has powerful antibacterial qualities, which can help reduce the swelling in and around the stye.
To use a teabag compress, all you have to do is make some tea. Boil water and pour it into a cup with the teabag inside. After a minute, you can take the teabag out to cool. You don’t want it too hot, as that could burn your eye and cause further problems.
Once the teabag is warm, but not too hot, place it on your eye for ten minutes. You can use the same methods as the warm compress. Apply for ten minutes at a time, for at least three times a day. Some even recommend putting a teabag on your non-affected eye, as it can be strained from all the extra work.
3. Keep It Clean
One of the most important things you can do for your stye is keeping it clean. That means using mild soap and water to regularly get rid of germs, dirt, skin, oil, and other debris. Using a tear-free baby shampoo is the best option, as it won’t harm your eye.
Simply mix the shampoo with warm water, then wet a clean cloth with the liquid and gently wipe your eyelids with it. Doing this two to three times a day can help the stye heal faster, and this is also a very easy procedure to do in the shower.
Additionally, you can clean your eyelid with saline, as the salty mixture can promote draining and flush out lingering bacteria.
4. Take a Hot Shower
A hot shower is a great way to treat your stye gently and save time, as it allows you to complete some of the other treatment options on this list.
The warmth and steam from the shower can relax your eye and encourage natural draining. Plus, you’re already next to warm water, so you can wet a washcloth under the water and place it on your eye. Additionally, the heat from the shower and the warm compress will alleviate lots of pain and swelling around your stye.
So by the time you get out of the shower, it may seem like the stye has disappeared. However, in a few hours, the swelling will likely return.
5. Let Your Eye Breathe
Your eyelid needs time to heal during the stye-treating process, which means keeping it unadorned is important. That means no makeup and no contacts. Makeup can irritate your eye and prevent the stye from healing, which would only prolong the process.
Additionally, bacteria can latch onto makeup products and then transfer to the other eye. Contact lenses work similarly. Wear glasses while you have a stye because wearing the contacts can irritate your eyelid and spread the bacteria.
6. Anti-Inflammatory Painkillers
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can work wonders on a stye. Not only do they ease the pain that can accompany the inflammation, but they can reduce the swelling as well.
By using the pain relievers, you’ll feel better, and your stye will heal more quickly. However, keep in mind that if your stye pain worsens to the point you can’t continue with your everyday life, contact a doctor immediately.
7. Over-the-Counter Ointments
Similar to the painkillers, your local pharmacy should have a number of ointments with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties such as Neosporin. The ointments can ease your pain and lessen the swelling. And you won’t have worry about using them on an empty stomach just like in an infected knee.
Once you’ve purchased the ointment, simply apply a small dab of the cream inside the eyelid. Ensure you’re not purchasing steroid ointments as they can cause further complications. Also, don’t purchase any eyedrops, as they aren’t effective for styes.
8. Eye Massages
Giving yourself a massage around your eyelid can be very effective, as it encourages drainage within the stye. Always be sure to wash your hands with soap and water beforehand.
So, that your fingers don’t spread any harmful bacteria to the area. If it hurts too much to massage your eyelid, stop immediately. There’s no sense in harming yourself further.
9. Never Pop a Stye
Although you may desperately want to, never pop, squeeze, or attempt to drain a stye. The pus that popping may release can cause infection and may spread harmful bacteria. Also, if a stye drains to the inside of your eyelid, your doctor will want to drain it at their medical office.
10. Get Some Prescriptions
If your stye hasn’t healed after a week, you can always contact your doctor and get prescription drugs or ointments. Prescription drugs such as the antibiotic called Keflex can heal your stye extremely quickly.
Further, prescription ointments can alleviate symptoms immediately, especially if they prescribe steroids. The downside to prescriptions is that you have to pay a bit extra for them. But for the immediate relief, it can be worth it just as how it works for concussions.
How To Prevent Styes
Ensure that you practice proper eye hygiene every day. This includes washing your eyes with mild soap and water, washing the oils off your face, and being sure that you take off makeup and remove contacts before going to sleep.
That being said, sometimes styes are out of your control. No matter how much washing you do, an irritated eyelid gland can still become a stye.
Styes are pesky but treatable. As soon as you notice a stye is beginning to form, you can start applying these tips, especially using warm or tea compresses. The faster you begin to work on the stye, the faster it will heal. Make sure to always use warm water, not hot, as you don’t want to damage your eye and cause greater problems.
Additionally, be sure to always wash your hands with soap and water before you touch your eye because the introduction of more bacteria is not going to help your stye heal more quickly.
Of course, if you ever have any questions along the way, or the pain around your stye becomes so great you can’t continue to do your day-to-day tasks, contact a doctor as soon as possible.