Styes: How Do You Treat Them?
Yes, styes are painful and ugly. But they’re just a blocked oil gland on your eyelid and should go away on their own or with simple treatment in a few days.
Chalazia, which look like styes but are internal infected oil glands, often disappear on their own too. But it could take a month or more for them to go away.
Most of the time you can treat a stye at home. Apply a warm compress to the affected eye for 10 to 15 minutes 2 to 4 times a day for several days. After applying the compress, use your clean finger or a clean tip to gently massage the inflamed bump to try to unplug the oil gland. Doing this can ease your pain and inflammation and help the stye go away faster.
Keep your eye closed while you use the compress. When the stye comes to a head, keep using the compresses to put pressure on it until it ruptures. Don’t squeeze it — let it burst on its own. Some styes spread skin infections when they pop. If that happens, you’ll have to take antibiotics.
If it comes back, your doctor may give you an antibiotic cream or ointment to put on the spot. Or you might take antibiotic pills or have other treatments if there is an underlying condition such as blepharitis. Follow the instructions on whatever medicine they give you.
Sometimes you need minor surgery to completely drain a stye. After applying a local anesthetic to numb your eyelid (that means you won’t have to go to sleep), the doctor cuts it open and removes the gunk inside. Your eyelid should heal quickly.
Although a chalazion will sometimes clear up on its own, warm compresses may speed things along. Your doctor might give you a shot of anti-inflammatory medicine to help. They can also remove the chalazion through simple surgery. It should only require a local anesthetic. You might have to wear an eyelid bandage for up to 24 hours afterward.
Referenced on 10/8/2021
- Bradford, C (Editor) Basic Ophthalmology, American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2004.
- The Mayo Clinic.
- Medline Plus: " Eyelid Bump," Chalazion."
- Lederman, C. Pediatr Rev, Aug. 20, 1999.
- American Optometric Association: “Chalazion