A sty usually begins with irritation in the eye. You find yourself rubbing your eye and after a day or two you notice a tiny lump or pimple on the lid (upper or lower). The annoying pimple becomes larger and painful until within a few days it bursts and the pain and irritations ends. The first thing NOT to do to a sty is to rub or squeeze it.
A sty is in fact an infection in the eyelash follicle or the oil gland. If you’re frequently exposed to small particles of any kind, you are more likely to develop sties as tiny particles clog the gland or follicle on the eyelid.
If you do sanding, plastering, or dusty gardening, wear plastic protective goggles and your sties will most likely disappear.
Sometimes you can get sties over a period of weeks or you get a few at the same time. This is because the bacteria that are causing the infection have traveled to another site on the eyelid and infected it.
If you get sties from any old makeup, throw the makeup out.
The best way to cope with a sty is to use frequent warm compresses. Take a clean washcloth and wet it with hot water so that the cloth is comfortable to the touch. Press it gently to the affected eye and hold it in place for at least ten minutes. The moist warmth helps the sty come to a head and burst, which relieves the pain. If you can see that a white head has formed on the sty after a few days, with clean hands you can pull out the eyelash. This should relieve the pain by allowing the pus to drain.
Again, never squeeze the sty or try to pull out the lash or force it to drain before a head has formed.
The sty should disappear in about a week. If it does not, or you have frequent problems with sties, consult your health care provider who may prescribe antibiotics.
Keep in mind:
* Never rub, squeeze, or irritate a sty.
* Use a warm compress three to four times a day.
* You can put a wet washcloth in the microwave for a few seconds, long enough that it is comfortable hot. Use this over the eye for about ten minutes.
* Once the sty comes to a head with an obvious white or yellow center, you can gently pull the eyelash out. You may not see an eyelash there anymore as it might fall out by itself. The release of pus should relieve pain.
If the sty does not clear up in about a week, see your doctor or eye doctor.
Learn more about Eye Stye Treatment on our site.