How to clear up a stye in your eye

Written by christina schnell
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How to clear up a stye in your eye
Use glasses instead of contacts while the sty drains. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

A sty is painful and unsightly red bump on the innermost part of your eyelid near the lash-line. Oil-producing glands line the periphery of your eye to lubricate tears. Dirt and bacteria occasionally settle inside these oil glands, creating a swollen and tender bump that's similar to a pimple on your face. Most styes drain and clear within a few days of treatment.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Clean washcloth

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  1. 1

    Wet a clean washcloth with hot water. Wring out the excess moisture and place the cloth over your closed eye. Re-wet the cloth every few minutes to maintain heat for 10 minutes. Perform this treatment four times a day for a few days to encourage the sty to drain by itself.

  2. 2

    Forgo all the eye make-up until your sty is completely gone. Mascara, eyeshadow and eyeliner can further aggravate your swollen gland. Change your mascara brushes and make-up applicators regularly to reduce bacteria build-up and prevent future styes.

  3. 3

    Leave the sty alone. Aside from the warm compress treatments, let your eye heal. Touching or picking at the sty only prolongs the draining. Never try to squeeze or pop a sty, as this can cause infection and extreme pain.

Tips and warnings

  • In extreme cases, the oil gland becomes completely blocked, causing the sty to grow into a chalazion. Such severe cases can warrant medical attention.
  • Red bumps around the eyelid can also indicate more serious ocular infections or growths. See your doctor if your sty does not improve within a few days.

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