A stye (sty) is a painful red bump along the eyelash line that can often be treated with home remedies. Find out more about this irritating eyelid infection.
A stye (sty) is a red, painful lump near the edge of your eyelid that may look like a boil or a pimple. Styes are often filled with pus. A stye usually forms on the outside of your eyelid, but sometimes it can form on the inner part of your eyelid.
In most cases, a stye will begin to disappear on its own in a couple days. In the meantime, you may be able to relieve the pain or discomfort of a stye by applying a warm washcloth to your eyelid.
A stye is a bacterial infection involving one or more of the small glands near the base of your eyelashes. It is similar to a boil or a pimple and is often painful.
Signs and symptoms of a stye include:
Another condition that causes inflammation of the eyelid is a chalazion. A chalazion occurs when there's a blockage in one of the small oil glands near the eyelashes. Unlike a stye, a chalazion usually isn't painful and tends to be most prominent on the inner side of the eyelid. Treatment for both conditions is similar.
Most styes are harmless to your eye and won't affect your ability to see clearly. Try self-care measures first, such as applying a warm washcloth to your closed eyelid for five to 10 minutes several times a day and gently massaging the eyelid. Contact your doctor if:
A stye is caused by an infection of oil glands in the eyelid. The bacterium staphylococcus is commonly responsible for most of these infections.
You are at increased risk of a stye if you:
To prevent eye infections:
Your doctor will usually diagnose a stye just by looking at your eyelid. Your doctor may use a light and a magnifying device to examine your eyelid.
In most cases, a stye doesn't require specific treatment, but using warm compresses can hasten the healing. A stye typically goes away on its own. Recurrences are common.
For a stye that persists, your doctor may recommend treatments, such as:
Until your stye goes away on its own, try to:
Start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner if your stye is painful or doesn't start to get better in two days. In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a specialist who treats eye diseases and conditions (ophthalmologist).
Because appointments can be brief, it's a good idea to be prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. For a stye, some basic questions to ask your doctor include: