A stye is a small pus-filled painful bump on the outer edge of the eyelids (upper or lower) caused by a bacterial infection. In medical terms, it is called a hordeolum. Styes have a similar appearance to a pimple or acne. They are very common and usually treatable by homecare remedies.
The edges of your eyelids have small pores that have numerous tiny oil glands. These oil glands help lubricate the lashes and outer surface of the eyes. Sometimes, these pores get clogged by dirt or dead skin, which promotes bacterial growth. This process can cause inflammation, giving rise to a stye.
Along with pain and swelling, a stye can cause excessive tear production, crusting along the eyelids, itchiness and soreness. It can also make you sensitive to light and make you feel as if there is a foreign particle in the eye.
Usually, a stye resolves on its own within a week to 10 days. However, you can try these home remedies to manage the symptoms:
- Warm compression
Warm compression is the oldest and most effective method to treat a stye at home. It helps to open the pores by dissolving the pus and oil. This also helps the pus drain naturally.
Take a clean piece of cloth and soak it in warm water. Squeeze out the excess water and then gently put the damp cloth on the eye that has the syte. Make sure the cloth is not too hot to cause a burn, rather it should feel comfortable and warm on the skin. You can repeat this three to four times a day until the syte goes away.
- Use warm teabag compression
Tea is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Warm compression with a tea bag can reduce inflammation, swelling and pain caused by the stye. Dip a tea bag into a hot cup of water. Let it steep for a minute. Take it out and wait for it to cool down for a bit. When it feels warm and tolerable, place it over the affected eyelid for five minutes. Throw away the tea bag and use a new one every time.
A massage can speed up the drainage of the pus and also provides comfort. You can massage the eyelid area gently with clean hands; however, don’t press or prick the stye. Stop massaging if you feel pain or discomfort.
- Clean your eyelid
Cleaning the eyelids helps to remove bacteria and promotes healing. You can clean your eyelid with saline water or a mild soap solution. A mild soap solution can be prepared at home by mixing tear-free baby shampoo and water. You need to simply wipe the eyelids with this solution and pat the eyes dry with a washed cloth or fresh tissue. Don’t sprinkle or splash the solutions into the eyes.
- Avoid eye makeup
Applying mascara, kohl or any eye make-up for that matter can cause further irritation in the eye and may also transfer the infection to the other eye. Wash all of your make-up brushes to get rid of any bacteria or germs before using again after your stye is gone.
Also, avoid wearing contact lenses as it could increase the risk of transferring the infection to the inside of the eyes, leading to pink eye. Once you recover, you should use a new pair of contact lenses to avoid reinfection.
- OTC medicines
Topical antibiotic ointments can be used to treat a stye. You can also take over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen and paracetamol) to relieve pain and inflammation. However, if your stye is affecting your daily activities then you should consult an ophthalmologist.