Stye is a common eye condition, which is usually harmless and goes away on its own after about a week. However, this small lump can be really annoying and look unattractive. Luckily, you can try a few natural, home solutions to eliminate the problem.
What Are the Symptoms of a Stye
A stye also known as sty or hordeolum is a type of a red bump, which looks a little bit like a pimple. It usually develops on the outside edge of your eyelids, which are built from plenty of small oil glands.
They can be found mainly around your eyelashes, where dirt, dead skin, and oil accumulate in the glands. Once it’s blocked, some bacteria start to grow and a stye may develop.
This small, red bump may be painful and your eyelid can be swollen. Your eye can be sore and itchy, you may also observe some crust around your eyelid and increased production of the tears. You may feel that you have something in your eye and it can be sensitive to light too.
A stye that isn’t painful might be actually a chalazion. The conditions and the methods of treatment are very similar, but chalazion usually takes longer to cure.
How to Get Rid of Stye: 10 Home Remedies and Treatments.
A stye usually needs about a week to heal when it finally breaks open and drains. It’s happens very rarely that a stye needs a medical consultation and if you follow the home remedies regularly, you should be able to deal with it on your own.
1. A Warm Compress
This simple method turns out to be the most effective one in treating a stye. It works because the warmth makes it possible for the pus and oil to dissolve and the stye drains naturally.
Wet a clean piece of cloth with warm, but not hot water. Make sure that the cloth is not dripping, but it’s only damp. Put it on your eye and stay like that for around 10 minutes. Be gentle, though, don’t squeeze or puncture the stye. Use a hot compress around three times a day until the stye goes away.
2. Mild Soap and Water
It’s crucial to keep your eyelid clean when it’s affected with a stye. Mix a little bit of a tear-free baby shampoo with warm water. Wet a cotton swab or a clean piece of cloth in it and delicately wipe off your eyelids. Follow this procedure twice a day until the stye disappears.
It’s also a good idea to clean your eyes with saline as it will speed up the drainage process and break down the bacterial membranes.
3. A Teabag Compress
A warm teabag compress works the same way a warm cloth compress does, but it can be more effective as black tea has strong antibacterial qualities so it will help you reduce swelling quickly.
Simply boil some water and pour it to a mug with a teabag. Wait a minute and then let the teabag cool for a while so that it’s not too hot to place in on your eye. Leave it on your eyelid for about ten minutes. You can also put a teabag on your healthy eye as it can be strained too.
4. Over-the-Counter Painkillers
A stye may be painful, thus, don’t hesitate to take some over-the-counter painkillers. The most common and effective ones are ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
The painkillers will not only relieve the pain, but they also have anti-inflammatory properties so they will help you deal with a stye quicker. Remember, though, that if the pain caused by stye is so severe that you can’t do everyday activities, you should go to a doctor.
5. Stay Natural
You should try to manage without makeup during the days you’re dealing with a stye. Makeup products may be really irritating for your eye and that can delay the recovery process. What’s more, the bacteria may be transferred to your makeup tools and the infection can spread to your other eye.
Remember that even when you managed to fight a stye, you should stay cautious. If you use reusable brushes, don’t forget to wash them regularly. If you suspect that some of your makeup products or applicators might have got contaminated, throw them away. Also, change your eye products after three months of usage.
The same rule applies to contact lenses. Don’t wear them when you have a stye and use glasses until the stye is cured. If you keep wearing the contacts, the bacteria may spread.
6. Use Over-the-Counter Ointments
Some over-the-counter antibiotic ointments are available at your pharmacy. They have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect so that your stye should heal sooner.
Once you buy the ointment, just gently pull the lid of the eye and apply around quarter-inch of the ointment inside the eyelid. Don’t buy any steroid ointments for your stye without the medical consultation as they may cause some side effects. Also, it’s been proved that eye drops are rarely effective for external styes.
7. Massage Your Eye
Massaging your eyelid area is a very good option as it promotes drainage. You can do it with your fingers, but make sure your hands are clean. After the massage, keep your eyes clean and don’t touch your eyes. If the massage hurts, stop doing it.
8. Keep Your Eyes Clean
That’s actually a piece of advice that should have appeared as the first one. Once you notice a stye on your eye, you need to keep your eyelids clean. Use gentle baby shampoo diluted in water or buy a special eyewash at your pharmacy. Another option is to use special eyelid cleansing pads, which are pre-moistened.
Wipe your eyelid with a cotton pad, a cotton ball, or a washcloth. Do it very gently so as not to irritate you eye more. Then wash off your eyelids with warm water and gently dry them.
Always clean your hands before and after you touch your stye. Also, don’t share the towels with other family members as they can get the infection too.
9. Don’t Pop a Stye
It might be tempting, but don’t pop or squeeze a stye. When you do it, you will release the pus and that may cause the infection to spread. Sometimes a stye develops on the inside part of your eyelid. In this case go to a doctor who will drain it in the office.
10. Use an Antibiotic Cream
Even if your stye is nothing serious, you may still visit a doctor, who will prescribe you some antibiotic cream for your infection. In case of inflammation he can also recommend you some steroid to eliminate swelling. Professional, prescribed drugs may work very quickly and after a few days you will forget about your stye.
When to Seek a Medical Help
You should consult your doctor if a stye is internal as then the doctor will need to drain it in his office. Also, if after a few days of home treatment the stay doesn’t clear up and it gets even bigger or is more painful, make an appointment to a doctor. You should be alarmed if a stye influences your vision too.
Reoccurring styes should also be consulted with a doctor as they might be a symptom of an underlying condition. It may suggest such problems as cellulitis, blepharitis, or conjunctivitis.
How to Prevent Styes
Some people simply have a tendency to developing styes. If you are in this group, you should take a few simple measures, which will let you prevent further styes.
First of all, you need to keep your hands clean, especially before you touch your eyes. Wipe your eyelids with mild soap or baby shampoo in the evening. Never forget to remove your eye makeup as the cosmetics can easily irritate your eyes. If any member of your family has a stye, don’t share towels with him or her.
Eye Stye in a Nutshell
The following facts will give you some basic information and advice about styes so that you will know how to deal with and prevent the problem.
1. Styes Don’t Begin With a Bump
Styes are usually associated with a small, red bump, however, that’s the final stage of the condition. At first, you will notice that your eye is painful, red, swollen, and tender. Then a small, red pimple appears, often with a swollen eyelid.
2. No Vision Problems
In case of a typical stye, without complications , it shouldn’t cause any vision problems. If your vision is affected in any way, you should see a doctor.
3. Staphylococcal Bacteria Is to Blame
It might sound surprising, but staphylococcal bacteria which causes styes, can be found in your nose. When you rub the nose and then you touch your eye, you can easily transfer the bacteria to your eye.
4. A Stye Itself Is Not Contagious
Most of us have a sty-causing bacteria in our bodies. Thus, potentially we can develop a style at any age without any contamination from the outside.
It means that we don’t contract a stye, but only the bacteria that causes it, but it doesn’t mean that we will develop a stye as some people may have the bacteria in their body and still they won’t get even a single stye in their lifetime.
Nevertheless, if you’re dealing with a stye, you don’t want to give somebody the bacteria. Therefore, you need to make sure that your eyes and hands are always clean. Don’t share towels, washcloths, pillowcases, and bedsheets with other members of the family.
5. They Heal on Their Own
The good news is that styes, no matter how troublesome they are, usually heal on their own after just a few days. However, you can ‘help’ them by using hot compresses for about 10 minutes around three times a day until the stye disappears.
Hot compresses will relieve the pain and swelling. Also, a pimple-like head will appear sooner, the stye will open and drain with no medical intervention required. If after a few days you don’t notice any improvement or it even gets worse, consult the problem with your doctor.
6. Don’t Pop a Stye
Despite the fact that a stye resembles a pimple you should never pop it as you can only spread the infection. If you suffer from an internal stye, which forms inside the eyelid, it may not open on its own and you will need to go to a doctor so that he could drain the stye in his office.
If you develop a stye frequently, you will probably need an antibiotic treatment in the form of an ointment, which should prevent styes in the future. You can also use special pre-moistened pads for cleaning eyelids on a daily basis.
When a Stye Develops Into a Chalazion
A chalazion is a type of a benign pump or nodule. It forms inside your upper or lower eyelid, it doesn’t cause any pain and is benign.
A chalazion usually results from cured internal styes that don’t infect any longer. These cyst-like bumps develop around an oil gland inside your eyelid, which becomes red and swollen.
A chalazion consists of pus and blocked fatty lipids, which normally lubricate your eye. It often takes a few weeks or even months to get rid of a chalazion, but if you regularly use warm compresses and massage your eyelid, it is possible that you will manage the problem on your own.
It sometimes happens that a chalazion doesn’t want to go away and grows so large that it becomes cosmetically unattractive. If it’s big, it can press on the cornea, which may create temporary irregularity on the surface of the eye or astigmatism, which may result in blurry vision.
It has already been said that chalazions are internal styes. However, it’s not always as simple as that because the cause of this condition is not always clear. For example, it has been proved that chalazions are more common among people who suffer from blepharitis or rosacea.
In general, people with rosacea, who deal with redness on their face or have papules and pustules under their skin, are also more vulnerable to some eye problems, such as chalazions or blepharitis.
Moreover, rosacea often affects eyelids and eyes, which is then known as ocular rosacea. Unfortunately, the causes of rosacea haven’t been fully identified yet. For sure it’s known that it might be the matter of genetics, environment we live in, or stress.
How to Treat a Chalazion
If your chalazion is small and almost invisible, it can disappear on its own, without any special treatment. However, what you should do the moment you observe or feel a chalazion inside your eyelid is applying a warm, wet compress, followed by an eyelid massage. Do it at least three times a day for 10 minutes and the probability that you will get rid of the problem on your own is high.
Warm compresses may help to unblock the eye’s oil gland so that a chalazion may clear up and drain on its own. If it doesn’t work, a chalazion can grow bigger and start to look unattractive. In such a case, you will probably need to undergo as small in-office surgery to remove the chalazion.
An eye doctor will numb your eyelid with local anesthesia and make a small incision underneath your eyelid. He will clear it quickly and with no scar left.
Sometimes an eye doctor decides to inject corticosteroid into the chalazion to promote better drainage. However, there is a risk of side effect that the steroid will lighten the surrounding skin, which might be a problem for people with dark skin.
In case a chalazion keeps developing in the same place or looks suspicious, the doctor can examine the removed tissue in a lab to check if it’s not a tumor. Remember, though, that it happens very rarely as most chalazions are harmless.
Other Eyelid Bumps
You must be aware that not all bumps on your eyelids are styes or chalazions. There is also a condition known as milia or milk spots. These are small white cysts, which usually appear on the outer part of the eyelid, but also around your eyes or nose.
MIlia happens when dead skin cells are blocked in a sweat gland or hair follicle. A bump that resembles a whitehead forms then. It’s a common condition of newborns, but it usually clears up on its own after around two weeks. However, when adults are affected with milia, they need to consult a doctor.
Milia is considered to be a skin problem, thus, your dermatologist will remove a milial cyst by a simple surgical procedure, which doesn’t require any stitches.
Another skin condition that affects the area around your eyelids is known as xanthelasma. It develops in the form of yellowish bumps that grow under your skin, usually around the eyelids.
The bumps caused by xanthelasma are built from accumulated fats, such as cholesterol, under the surface of your skin. They are connected with a high level of cholesterol in the blood stream. It’s a non-cancerous condition, but it should be investigated by your doctor as higher blood lipids may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
In most cases xanthelasma doesn’t cause any accompanying symptoms, but some people decide to remove the bumps surgically for cosmetic reasons.
Eyelid Hygiene Tips
If you tend to develop some eye-related conditions, such as stye or chalazion, you should be aware that the key rule to prevent and control them is proper eyelid hygiene.
You should always start with a warm compress prepared with the use of a clean and soft cloth. A warm compress will melt any debris that accumulated in the oil-secreting, meibomian glands of your eyelids.
Before you start any eye-related procedures remember to wash your hands thoroughly first. Then put a warm and damp washcloth on your closed eyelids. Keep it for a several minutes, if the cloth cools too quickly, repeat the process.
The next step is to delicately rub the eyelid margin with the washcloth you used for the compress. Do it before you even open your eyes, but remember not to push on your eye too hard.
Preparing warm compresses a few times a day may be troublesome as it requires some time, but you will have to do it so often only in the first days of the treatment. Later, one compress a day will be just enough. If you are not sure about this matter, consult your doctor for further recommendations.
The next essential step is to clean your eyelids thoroughly. Once again, wash your hands first. You can clean your eyelids with warm water, mild baby shampoo, or some over-the-counter or prescribed eyewashes.
To clean your eyelids prepare a clean piece of soft cloth, a cotton swab, or a gauze pad. Moisten it with the cleaning option you have chosen. Now, wipe the eyelashes and the margin of your lid. Remember to be very gentle, though.
Rinse with cool or warm water. Repeat the whole procedure for your other eye, even if it’s not affected with any condition. Remember to use a fresh cloth, pad, or swab.
At the beginning, your doctor will probably recommend you to clean your eyelids a few times a day, but later probably once a day will be just enough.
You should also avoid eye makeup, and leave it only for some special occasions as makeup products and tools may worsen or spread the infections.
Eye doctors sometimes recommend anti-dandruff shampoos for your scalp and eyebrows to keep the area free of bacteria. Be careful, though, and keep it away of the eyes as they can cause further irritation.
If you wear contact lenses, you should switch to glasses every time you deal with any eye infection as the bacteria or other debris can stick to your contacts, which might spread the infection or even lead to more serious eye conditions.