How to clear up a stye in your eye

Updated April 17, 2017

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean washcloth
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About the Author

Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.