How To Cure A Stye, Causes, And Prevention Tips

A stye, also called hordeolum or simply sty, is an eye infection that causes a pimple-like bump around the eyelids which induces discomfort when touched.


Stye defined

A stye, also called hordeolum or simply sty, is an eye infection that causes a pimple-like bump around the eyelids which induces discomfort when touched.  You might also mistakenly identify stye from chalazion. These two infections are almost the same, except that chalazion doesn’t cause soreness but may take time to heal. The good news is that it can be treated at home. Read more to see tips on how to cure a stye.


There are lots of small glands underneath the eyelids that excrete oils, dirt, or dead skin cells. If a person has bad personal hygiene, these compounds accumulate overtime blocking the glands and promoting bacteria growth.

These bacteria (staphylococci) infect the portion of the skin around the eyelids. 

Risk factors

The primary cause of sty is lipid gland infection. Excess excretion of lipids called Seborrhea may also induce the development of the infection. Individuals with the following traits are also likely to develop stye:

  • Poor facial hygiene.
  • Makeup or cosmetics are removed improperly.
  • Use of expired cosmetics and beauty products.
  • Stress also causes excessive production of body oil.
  • Existing medical conditions like acne, rosacea, blepharitis, and meibomitis.
  • Hormonal imbalance, which is common during puberty or menstrual cycles.


A common characteristic of the infection are the following:

  • Red bumps and crust form around the eyelids.
  • The infection may also stimulate increased secretion of tears as a defense mechanism to protect the frontal regions of the eye(s).
  • Discomfort around the infected area especially when it’s touched.
  • Swelling of the pimple-like bumps that may go away in a few days if proper hygiene is practiced. In some cases, it might continue to swell even if eyelid cleansing is maintained. And if this event happens, contact your local ophthalmologist.
  • Itchiness and irritation around the infected area.
How to cure a stye

How To Cure A Stye At Home

Apply warm compress

This traditional way on how to cure a stye is in used for generations now and proven to be one of the most effective remedies against inflammations, swelling, or lowering the temperature of a sick family member. It’s also highly recommended by most clinicians in certain medical conditions.

Warm compress is shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of the sty. It induces relief from eye discomfort and helps soften the blockage then eventually drain it away. 

You can accomplish this by wetting a clean small towel with warm water. Be sure not to pour in hot water because it can damage your skin and eyes. After doing so, apply the warm cloth just over your eyes. Let it sit there for about 10 minutes. Repeat this process at least 3 times a day.

Thoroughly wash your eyelids

Wash your face properly especially around the eyelids to remove dirt and excess oil build-up.

You can either use a mild soap or cleanse it with a warm cloth. Rinsing your eyelids with warm water is also recommended because it aids in unclogging and draining of blockage. Use a personal towel and never share it with anyone. Gently pat your face until it dries.

Repeat this particular process until the stye is completely gone but maintain proper hygiene to prevent infection from coming back.

Other people opt for a saline solution in cleansing their eyelids. It may help break down the clog and eliminate bacteria causing infections.

Consider taking non-prescription pain relievers to ease discomfort

Take over-the-counter painkillers to temporarily soothe the discomfort caused by this infection. Recommended examples are acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

Make sure to follow prescribed dosages in the leaflets to avoid unnecessary side effects. Much better if you can visit your doctor and ask for his opinion about which painkillers best suits you.

Antibiotic creams

You can buy non-prescription antibiotic creams or ointments at your local pharmacy. Refrain from using products that contain preservatives or steroids. This is because such products are known to cause side effects.

A typical application is only about a quarter-inch and placed in the eyelids. Although they’re generally considered safe for use, their efficacy lacks substantial scientific evidence to conclude that they’re a viable treatment for stye.

Never pop a stye

You may be tempted to pop a stye just like a pimple. However, never attempt to do so, because a pimple is very different from a stye which can worsen if you try to pop it. The stye will eventually pop on its own.

Don’t scratch or touch the infected area

Also, don’t touch the stye frequently especially if you’re hands are unwashed. Bacteria and viruses are all around us and touching the infected area contaminate it, which may aggravate the condition.

Don’t use makeup during stye infection

It’s advisable not to use cosmetic products during the infection. This is to ensure faster recovery and prevent infection from worsening.

Temporarily refrain from using contact lenses

As of the moment, refrain from using contact lenses and use eyeglasses until the infection completely heals. The reason for this is that the bacteria may contaminate your contact lenses.


The proven method to prevent the development of stye in the future is proper hygiene. Some of the ways you can do this are the following:

  • Be sure to wash your face properly before going to bed. 
  • If you’re wearing make-ups, thoroughly clean your face and make sure to remove residues of the cosmetic.
  • Practice keeping personal hygienic items to prevent transmission of viruses.
  • Avoid directly touching your eyelids.

When to see an ophthalmologist?

Most cases of stye normally heal within a few days just by practicing warm compress and regular eyelid cleansing.

However, don’t hesitate to consult your local ophthalmologist if you feel you need to. By doing so, he may even help you select which brands of painkillers, cream, or any eye medication are best for treating sty.

If the discomfort becomes unbearable, doesn’t go away, or affects your eyesight, the medical practitioner may prescribe a minor surgical procedure where he’ll take out part or the entire bump to relieve the pain.

The following are signs when you should seek medical attention:

  • Eyes become completely red.
  • The pimple-like bump is swollen that it causes the eye to completely shut.
  • If a few days or weeks after the treatment, the stye re-develops or bleeds.
  • If eyelashes begin to fall out.
  • If the swelling persisted for almost a month.

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