Stye Treatments and Effective Prevention

May 16, 2023 | General

Styes also known as hordeolums are common eye infections that can cause discomfort and irritation. These small painful little bumps usually appear along the edge of the eyelid. Sometimes you may get an internal stye that may cause swelling of the eyelids. While styes are usually harmless, they can be bothersome and unsightly. It is usually best to visit your optometrist to get it examined. Fortunately, they do resolve by themselves, however, there are several effective methods that can alleviate the symptoms and speed up the healing process.

Stye Treatments

Warm Compresses

One of the easiest and most effective stye treatments is applying warm compresses to the stye. Soak a towel in clean hot water, wring it out, and place it over the closed eye for 5-10min. If the towel cools down, it can be reheated in the microwave. Make sure it isn’t too hot that it irritates the skin. Alternatively, a wheat pack/Brudermask can be used for better heat retention. This treatment should be performed at least twice a day for at least one week.

The warmth helps with blood circulation, reduces inflammation, and helps promote drainage. It also provides relief from the discomfort and irritation associated with styes.

Lid Massages

Another stye treatment involves gentle eye lid massaging which may help promote drainage of the stye. This is most effective when performed in conjunction with warm compresses. If the stye is on the upper lid, make a vertical downward motion with the index finger for 30-60sec, conversely, if the stye is on the lower lid, make an upward motion with the index finger. Although it may be tempting to squeeze the stye, it is crucial to resist the urge as it can introduce more bacteria, potentially leading to further infection or a formation of a severe abscess. Instead, let it drain naturally or consult your optometrist for safe drainage procedures if necessary.

Eyelid Massage Technique
Eyelid Massage Technique

Stye Eye Drops

Antibiotic eye drops are usually used in stye treatments to prevent any further bacterial infection from occurring in the eye. Your optometrist may prescribe you antibiotic drops or ointment if the stye is severe or at risk of complications. Follow your optometrist’s instructions carefully and complete the full course of medication to ensure that the infection is effectively treated.

Stye Prevention

Proper Eyelid Hygiene

Maintaining good eyelid hygiene is essential to prevent the recurrence of styes. Cleanse the eyelids and lashes using a gentle fragrance-free cleanser or baby shampoo mixed with warm water. Gently rub the solution along the base of the eyelashes and rinse well. By keeping the eyelids clean, it reduces the likelihood of bacterial infection and blockage of oil glands.

Internal Stye Treatments

Sometimes the blockage is located quite deep and the stye can be quite stubborn to resolve. Some of the time, the stye will become a chalazion after a period and will need to be cut out by a specialist if it is bothersome and irritating. If this is the case, please consult your optometrist for treatment options.

Internal stye
Internal Stye (Hordeolum)

Although styes may arise during the most inconvenient of times, most of the time they resolve without any treatment, however, there are some proven treatments that may accelerate the healing time. Always see your optometrist if there is no improvement in your symptoms/signs or if you are concerned please make an appointment to see us.

This advice is intended to be general only and is not to be taken as medical advice. If you have an issue, please contact your health care provider.


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