What Is an Eye Pimple?

Angela Farrer

An eye pimple is a pus-filled bump that commonly occurs on the rim of the eyelid due to bacteria that has mixed with excess oil from an eyelash follicle. A stye is another term for an eye pimple, and this kind of eye infection typically results from staphylococcal bacteria that have been transferred via rubbing the eye with unwashed hands. In some cases, a stye can also form on the inside of the eyelid. While an outer eyelid bump can be uncomfortable and visibly prominent, it usually heals on its own within a week. More serious inner styes sometimes need medical treatment before they can go away completely.

A stye is another term for an eye pimple.
A stye is another term for an eye pimple.

With either type of pimple, sufferers should not squeeze or pop the stye. Doing so can introduce even more bacteria and make the eye infection even worse. A doctor will typically recommend gently holding a hot washcloth over the stye about three times per day to help bring the pus and any other fluid to the surface. Most styes on the eyelid rim will break open by themselves as a result.

Gently holding a warm washcloth over an eye stye about three times per day may help bring pus to the surface.
Gently holding a warm washcloth over an eye stye about three times per day may help bring pus to the surface.

The beginning symptoms of an eyelid pimple are often swelling of the lid and a feeling of something such as an eyelash caught in the eye. Some people who develop styes can also become temporarily more sensitive to bright light. In the case of an inner eye pimple, the same bump does not form on the surface and the entire eyelid can sometimes become swollen. Some inner styes can result in a longer-lasting fluid-filled cyst; an eye doctor can usually lance and drain this kind of cyst in one office visit.

Regular hand washing can prevent styes.
Regular hand washing can prevent styes.

If an eye pimple becomes a frequent occurrence, some prescription antibacterial ointments can help prevent future ones. Some of the easiest ways to prevent styes include washing hands before touching the eyes and refraining from sharing towels, washcloths, or make-up with others. The bacteria from a healing eyelid bump can generally be transmitted to another person, and these good hygiene practices can prevent their spread most of the time.

Antibacterial ointment from a doctor can help keep the eyelid area free of pimples.
Antibacterial ointment from a doctor can help keep the eyelid area free of pimples.

While most eyelid bumps are not cause for serious concern, a small number of them can develop complications. Medical professionals recommend an optometrist's intervention if a stye becomes unusually large or fails to heal after more than one week. Crusting or bleeding from the eyelid bump is another symptom that may indicate a more serious infection that needs medical attention.

An eye pimple may need to be drained by an eye doctor in some cases.
An eye pimple may need to be drained by an eye doctor in some cases.

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Discussion Comments


This article is useless. They do not just go away. I have had a sty for years that will not go away.


I disagree with advice. I've never had an eye spot -not a sty- and I got one today. I wear contacts and thought it was irritation, except it felt sore and pulling the lid or stretching or touching at all was sore.

When I looked it was a small spot with a white head this was a poppable spot, only doing so was not possible because touching the eye couldn't be avoided. It felt very sore and uncomfortable as tiny as it was, because the lid is sensitive and the spot created swelling.

I had to pop it because if it was that uncomfortable within minutes of developing, it would be awful if it got any bigger. Plus, the longer you leave spots the harder they can be to pop. The only way to pop it was to close my eye and push the lid against the eyeball.

It's still a little sore but nothing like it was, and the white has gone. I came here to find a way to get rid of it, when it's on the lid rim or lid inside. You can't "just leave it alone for it to go of its own accord". It's like a toothache but in your eye, not to mention how gross it looks.


I get these from time to time when I don't wash off my eyeliner makeup. Usually, they go away on their own in a week or less, but it looks like I've gotten a black eye with only light bruising and puffiness.


I have never had pimples or styles with my eyes. But today I noticed a small tiny "pimple" on my lower eye line (a bit inside the eye). There's just one and nothing hurts at the moment. But I wonder what I should do to it. Will it go away on its own?


I have little white pimples around my eyes, but I don't think they are styes. They aren't actually on my eyelids. They line the dark circles underneath my eyes.

I tried squeezing them once, but it was very painful and made a red scar. It looked awful! I won't do that again.

I do get these little yellowish bumps on my lower lids sometimes, but I can scrape them off with my fingernail. Are these styes, or are they something else? I wouldn't think it would be so easy to remove a stye, because once I scrape them, they disappear.


@seag47 – You are lucky, then. I used to get eye pimples all the time, and they made me so miserable.

I think I got them from sharing makeup with my friends and using hand-me-down eye shadow and eyeliner from my older sister. It was really old and I'm sure it had oils from her skin in it.

I never share makeup with anyone anymore. I also haven't had an eye pimple in years. I think it isn't a coincidence.


I don't think I've ever had a pimple near my eye. I've had them on my chin, nose, and forehead, but the area around my eyes just isn't prone to them, and I'm glad.


I can't imagine how uncomfortable it would be to have a pimple inside the eyelid! If it's rubbing against your eyeball, it would feel like something was in your eye all the time.

I've had eyelashes on my eyeballs before, and I can't concentrate on anything else until I've removed them. Removing an inner eyelid pimple would be impossible without the help of a doctor.

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