A stye is an unsightly bump on the edge of the eyelid along the lash line. Styes are annoying but harmless, and they will not affect vision. Most styes resemble a pimple on the eyelid and are tender to the touch. They will usually disappear on their own over the course of two to three days.

What is a stye?

A stye is an infected oil gland along the edge of the eyelid. They can grow on the inside or outside of the eyelid.

Styes can occur at any age; they develop when an oil gland becomes clogged from dirt, oil, or bacteria. They can be painful and aesthetically unappealing, but they rarely pose any serious problems.

Symptoms of a stye

Styes look like a red, swollen bump on the eyelid. They often resemble a pimple in appearance. As styes grow, the skin on the eyelid becomes tender and the eye may start to water. The stye will continue to swell over the course of a few days and then usually drain on its own. In rare cases, large styes can interfere with vision.

Causes of a stye

Styes develop when bacteria enters the oil glands along the eyelids. The bacterium that causes styes is easily transferred to the eyes from contact. People with blepharitis are more prone to developing styes.

Treatment of a stye

Styes usually heal on their own after a few days. When a stye first develops, warm compresses should be applied to the eye several times a day to help it heal faster. Some of the pain associated with styes can be relieved with: 

  • Over-the-counter ointments 
  • Eye washes 
  • Medicated pads

It is best to avoid wearing eye makeup until a stye has completely healed. Persistent styes can be treated with antibiotic creams. In rare cases, a large stye may need to be lanced to allow it to heal.


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