How to Get Rid of a Stye
A stye is also called a hordeolum. It is a red bump that forms on the outside of the eyelid. It may resemble a pimple. It is usually caused by one of the oil glands around your eyes becoming clogged with dirt, oil, or debris. When the gland becomes blocked, bacteria grows behind the blockage forming a stye. Styes can become painful and cause swelling. It may itch, and you might find a crustiness forms around the edge of the eyelid. You will also likely have an increase in tear production as the stye irritates the eye. It the area is not painful, it is possible the stye is actually a chalazion. While their treatment are similar, chalazions are not painful.
Things to Avoid with a Stye
There are a number of things which you should avoid when you have a stye. One of them is to make sure you avoid wearing contacts. Until the stye heals, you should wear a pair of prescription eye glasses instead of contacts. Another thing you need to avoid is wearing eye makeup. This includes eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara. If you put any other eye cream on around your eyes as part of your regular makeup routine, do not put this on either until the stye is gone. Thirdly, avoid touching your eye as much as possible. Unless you are doing something to treat the eye, your hands can cause the stye to become irritated and more inflamed. It can also cause more debris to affect the eye and cause more problems. Lastly, although it may resemble a pimple, and your first instinct may be to try and pop the stye, do not squeeze, poke, or try to pop the stye in any way. This can cause more complicated problems and prolong the healing process. Instead, let the blockage clear on its own.
Use a Warm Compress
A warm compress can be used to help encourage the oils and debris in the stye to break up and help the stye to heal faster. Before doing this, you need to make sure you wash your hands with warm water and antibacterial soap. When using a warm compress, make sure it is not too hot so you do not burn your skin and cause damage to the sensitive area around your eye. There are a number of ways you can apply heat to the area safely. One way is to get a clean face washcloth and wet it with warm water. Then gently hold the washcloth to the affected eye for five to ten minutes. Another way to apply heat to your eye is to make a warm compress with a clean dry sock. Fill it with some dry rice. Then heat it up for a couple of seconds in the microwave. Test the compress before you place it on your eye to make sure it is not too hot and will not burn your skin. Then apply the warm compress to your eye for five to ten minutes. Whichever method you decide to do, this process should be done three or four times a day to help the blockage in the gland more quickly.
Clean Your Eyelids
Before washing your eyelids, make sure to wash your hands with warm soapy water. Then either use an eyewash solution designed for washing your eyelids, or a tear free shampoo like an infant shampoo. Wet your hands with some warm water. Apply a couple of drops of the soap to your fingertips and rub them together to create a lather. Then close your eyes and gently wash your eyelids to help remove and excess oil or debris on your eyelids. After about a minute of gently massaging the lather into your eyes, rinse them with some warm water. Then dry your eyes with a clean towel by gently blotting the water from your face and not rubbing your face or eyes to prevent irritating it.
Gently Massage the Eye
This is one of the few times when you should touch your eye. Before touching it though, make sure you wash your hands with warm water and antibacterial soap. Gently massage the eye that is affected by the stye. Make sure to apply gentle pressure using only your fingertips, and do not attempt to pick, poke, or pop the stye while you are massaging it. The reason for massaging the area is to help encourage the blockage to break up faster and to help the stye to heal faster. This can be a couple of times a day. However, if at any time you are massaging the area, and it is painful, stop immediately. If while massaging the area the stye should open and begin to drain, simple clean the area and then refrain from touching it.
Over the Counter Medications
There are some eye medications available over the counter to help a stye. These medications usually are not necessary, and a stye will heal on its own. However, if you have some discomfort, the ointments may help the eye to find some comfort. One of the most important things when putting anything in your eye is to make sure the medication is designed for use in the eye specifically to ensure there is no damage caused. To use these ointments, you must first begin by washing your hands with warm water and an antibacterial soap. Take extra care when opening the container not to touch the tip with your hands or to allow it to touch anything else. This is so the bottle does not become contaminated accidentally with bacteria. Gently pull the eyelid down, and place about ¼ of an inch of the ointment along the edge of the eye. Allow the eye to close naturally. You may find blinking helps to move the ointment to where it is needed, but do not touch your eye or rub it after applying the ointment. Another over the counter medication you may consider taking is a pain reliever like Tylenol or Motrin. This medication is not necessary, but if you find the eye tender it might relieve the pain.
Once the Stye Begins to Drain
Usually within a few days of using the mentioned methods, the blockage will be gone and it will begin to drain. When this happens, the first thing you should doe is to clean the eye. Wash your hands with warm water and antibacterial soap. Then proceed to wash your eye using the eyewash solution or the tear free shampoo mentioned earlier. This should be done in the morning, as you might find it has drained and formed a crust on the eyelid. Repeat it again at night before bed to remove any debris which may have come in contact with the eye throughout your day. After the stye drains, until all of the inflammation, tenderness, and redness have returned to normal continue to wear eyeglasses instead of contacts, and avoid the use of eye makeup or creams. Using these too early can cause the eye to flare up again. The gland in the eye needs to heal completely before returning to your regular makeup routine and contacts.
Prevention of Future Styes
If you find that you are prone to getting styes frequently, there are a number of things you can do to prevent them from coming as frequently. One of them is to continue to wash your eyes daily as described above. The other is to refrain from touching your eyes as much as possible, and if you must touch your eyes, wash your hands before hand with warm water and antibacterial soap. Also, look at your makeup routine and see if you are using medication that is outdated. Many times people continue to use makeup for a long period of time. The problem with this is there is often bacteria that can build up and may increase your chances of an eye ailment. Also make sure you regularly wash off your eye makeup every night to ensure it does not sit on your eyes causing the pores and glands to become blocked with debris.
When to Call Your Doctor
Usually a stye does not require a doctor to prescribe medication for a stye. However, there are rare times that the stye will not begin to drain on its own. Or the blockage causes such an infection that it needs to have prescription antibiotic ointments and steroids to reduce the inflammation. If your stye lasts for several days after trying these remedies, or it continues to worsen without draining, only a call to your physician will make it possible for you to get these prescription medications and to rule out other potential eye ailments. It is also worth mentioning that there are times that a stye becomes severe enough that it requires an ophthalmologist to drain the stye. This is an outpatient procedure, done under local anesthesia, and then the stye is opened and drained. Usually an antibiotic ointment and a topical steroid is then prescribed for aftercare.