What Are the Different Ways to Treat a Stye?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Images By: Pavel Losevsky, Jj Hall, Fotomatrix
  • Last Modified Date: 12 January 2020
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A stye, which is an inflamed bump that forms on a person's eyelid, can be treated with basic measures a person can take at home. This type of bump forms when glands that produce oil become infected and usually goes away on its own in a week or two. As such, at-home measures are usually enough to keep discomfort to a minimum and reduce the risk of further infection from a stye. If it doesn't go away or is extremely uncomfortable, however, a person may need a doctor's help to treat a stye.

Often, a person attempts to minimize inflammation and discomfort by applying a clean, warm compress to the affected eye, keeping the eye closed during treatment. A person usually uses a compress to treat a stye several times each day and keeps the heat applied to the affected area for intervals of several minutes. This won’t make the stye go away immediately, but it can help speed healing. Cleaning the eyelid with a soap or skin cleanser that won’t over-dry or irritate the skin may help as well.


When dealing with a stye at home, a person may feel tempted to squeeze it or even poke a hole in it with a needle. The idea, in such a case, is usually to help the affected area drain quickly. Most health experts recommend against taking such actions, however, as doing so may further irritate the area and make the stye worse. When a person uses such methods to treat a stye, it can also cause a new infection that could complicate the affected person’s problem.

While waiting for a stye to go away, a person may want to go about his or her normal routine, including wearing contact lenses or applying makeup. Many health experts, however, recommend waiting until the stye has gone away to wear eye makeup or put in contact lenses. Doing so may prevent the spread of the infection to the eyeball or other parts of the lid and keep beauty products from being contaminated. If the patient experiences pain because of the stye, he or she may find over-the-counter pain relievers helpful as well.

If home-care methods do not successfully treat a stye, a doctor’s help may be warranted. Likewise, a person may do well to see a doctor if a stye doesn't go away after several days have passed or if it is large enough to interfere with eyesight or cause considerable pain. In such a case, a doctor usually prescribes antibiotics to be applied to the stye or taken orally. Sometimes an eye doctor may even cut into a stye with the intention of draining it. If a stye is particularly persistent, a doctor may even need to perform a biopsy on its cells in order to make sure it is not a malignant tumor.


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