Treating an Eye Stye at Home

Updated on November 20, 2017
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Sara is a freelance writer who has been published in several publications. She is interested in health and wellness.

Eye Stye
Eye Stye | Source

The chances are high that if you are reading this, you know how miserable it can be to have an eye stye. The good news is that many times a stye can be treated easily at home!

What Is a Stye?

Before you can work on healing, you need to understand what a stye really is. There are a lot of problems associated with bumps around the eye, but a stye is fairly easy to identify. Styes are located on the ridge of your eye right along the lashes. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a stye can appear swollen, red, or similar to a pimple. Styes are often painful, especially to the touch. Some individuals also find blinking to be painful, and complain of teary eyes. Without treatment, a stye generally goes away on its own after several days.

How Did I Get a Stye?

It is fairly simple; styes form because of bacteria. The U.S. National Library of Medicine says common causes are over-worn contact lenses, old makeup, and rubbing your eyes with dirty hands. When bacteria reaches the oil glands around your eyes, it becomes inflamed and infected.

To avoid future occurrences, you should try to figure out what caused your stye and address it. According to ABC News, makeup needs to be changed often to avoid eye infections. The rule of thumb is to switch out your mascara and eyeliner every four to six months. Eyeshadow should be replaced after one year. Contact lenses should only be worn the amount of time recommended by your eye doctor. Most contact lenses are not meant for extended wear or sleeping, and wearing them for sleep builds up bacteria. If at any point you develop an infection, you should dispose of your eye makeup and contact lenses and start with clean, new products. Most importantly, wash your hands!


Treating Your Stye

No one likes a stye, so it is surprising many people are unaware of how to treat them. Fortunately, it can be easy to heal a bump quickly at home. It may sound too simple, but by using a washcloth and hot water, you can diminish the style in just hours (sometimes even less).

  • First, find a clean washcloth.
  • Second, soak the cloth in warm water. The temperature should be very hot, but not so hot you burn yourself.
  • Third, hold the cloth over your eye. When the cloth is no longer warm, re-soak it and repeat the first two steps.

The more frequently you repeat these steps, the quicker healing will start, and pain will subside. The heat of the water reduces bacteria that is trapped inside of your eye and brings contents to a head. In my opinion, this is the very best way to handle a stye. You can also try using a heating pad. I have found this works really well too, but you need to be careful not to set the temperature too high.

Remember, when treating your stye, it is very important to have clean hands. Styes form from bacteria, so the goal is to reduce the bacteria! Do not touch your eye or the area around it any more than necessary. You should not attempt to drain the stye; if it needs to drain, the heat will help it to do so on its own. Do not use sharp objects anywhere near your eye! When treated properly, a stye can diminish within hours. Without treatment, it generally takes a few days. Treating it improperly can delay healing.

Follow-Up Care

If a warm washcloth or a heating pad doesn't work, consider seeing a doctor. Some M.D.s will prescribe a medication, or drain the stye. A doctor can also confirm that your bump is actually a stye, and not something more serious.

For more information, check out the following video from Livestrong!

How long did your stye last? (past or present)

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


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