How do I get rid of a stye?

Kate Harris

Eye Health Advisor
Ask Kate

08 January 2019

What is a stye?

A stye is a small, painful lump that appears on the inside or edge of your eyelid. It looks a bit like a spot or a pimple and can be red or filled with pus. A stye can grow to form a sizeable lump and can cause discomfort and pain. Both the upper and lower eyelids can be affected, and it’s possible to have more than one stye at a time.

Styes are generally caused by infection or inflammation, and in some cases they can result from a condition called blepharitis. Poor makeup hygiene can also be responsible - you should always make sure to wash your brushes and products after an infection to avoid it returning again and again! 

How do I get rid of a stye?

A stye can last for a few days, but you should get advice from your doctor if it lasts longer or seems to be getting larger and more painful. It should clear up naturally on its own,1 but there are a few steps you can take to ease discomfort and speed up the healing process.

1. Don't try to pop a stye!

As I've said, the most important thing to bear in mind when it comes to a stye is that you should never try to pop it, no matter how tempting it may be. Squeezing a stye will release pus which could spread the infection. Don’t touch the stye either; this could introduce even more germs to the infected area.

Visit your doctor if your stye is on the inside of your eyelid or if it seems like it’s getting worse. They may drain the stye for you, but generally the fluid will drain on its own.

2. Apply a warm compress to your eye

If your eye is causing you pain you can try holding a warm compress on it. This will help to dissolve the pus and oil inside the stye and bring it to the surface, which will speed up the natural healing process and allow the stye to drain naturally. 

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your eyes. 
  2. Using warm water (not too hot!), wet a clean washcloth, wring out the excess water and gently place it over your eye. 
  3. Hold it there for 5 to 10 minutes, without putting too much pressure on your eye or squeezing the stye.
  4. You can do this a few times throughout the day, each time using a clean washcloth and making sure to wash your hands before and afterwards.

3. Avoid wearing makeup and contact lenses

To give your eye a chance to heal properly, you should make sure to avoid wearing makeup when you have a stye, for a few reasons. Firstly, you want to make sure you avoid getting bacteria from the stye on your makeup products and brushes, as this could spread the infection to your other eye or cause recurrent infections. Secondly, wearing makeup can irritate your eye further and slow down the healing process.

The same advice goes for contact lenses. Avoid wearing your contacts if you have a stye – stick to glasses to make sure your eyes have a chance to heal. Your eye may take 7-10 days to heal, even if the stye seems to have gone, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid makeup and lenses for around a week once the stye has cleared up.2

4. Keep your eyes clean

Finally, you should always make sure to keep your eyes clean, whether you want to get rid of a stye or prevent them from developing. Make sure you always wash your hands before touching your eyes and face to avoid bacteria spreading and causing irritation or infection in your eyes. Plus, don’t forget that you should always remove makeup before bed!

You can also gently clean your eyes to make sure your stye doesn’t worsen. Using mild soap, such as baby shampoo diluted in water, you can gently clean your eyelids with a cotton pad or clean washcloth. This will help to remove any debris and the massaging action should promote natural drainage.

Our Eye Drops can also be used to clean out unwanted dirt, bacteria and discharge from your eyes. They contain the herb euphrasia which is traditionally used to treat eye problems, and will help to keep your eyes healthy and moisturised. 




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