Young woman rubbing her eye

How to Treat an Eye Stye

What is a Stye?

A stye usually looks like a pimple or a boil that forms around the edge of the eyelid, but sometimes can form on the inner portion of the eyelid. It is painful, usually red in color and contains puss. It’s usually caused by a blocked oil gland. Styes typically clear up in a couple of days.

Symptoms of a Stye

  • A red lump on your eyelid that is similar to a boil or a pimple
  • Eyelid pain
  • Eyelid swelling
  • Tearing

Stye Risk Factors

  • Touch your eyes with unwashed hands
  • Insert your contact lenses without thoroughly disinfecting them or washing your hands first
  • Leave on eye makeup overnight
  • Use old or expired cosmetics
  • Have blepharitis, a chronic inflammation along the edge of the eyelid
  • Have rosacea, a skin condition characterized by facial redness

Treatment Options

  • Add a warm compress to the stye to alleviate pain or discomfort
  • Most styes go away on their own

For persistent styes you may need:

  • Antibiotics
  • Surgery to drain puss and help heal the stye

Visit your eye care or healthcare provider if your stye is painful and doesn’t start to heal within 2 days.

Sources: (last accessed 2.23.17) (last accessed 2.23.17)