What Is A Sty And How Do You Get Rid Of It?

Published: October 17, 2012
Dear What Is A Sty And How Do You Get Rid Of It?,
Today, I woke up with my right eye irritated. When I went to look in the mirror, there was a little red bump on my lower eyelid. I showed it to my mom and she said it was probably a stye. What's a stye and is there any way to get rid of it?

Dear What Is A Sty And How Do You Get Rid Of It?,

The Mayo Clinic offers comprehensive information on sties, including information on causes, risk factors, treatments, home remedies and prevention. TeenHealthFX has included some of the highlights below to answer your questions:

A sty is a red, painful lump near the edge of your eyelid that can look like a boil or pimple and that is usually filled with pus. Sties are usually caused by bacteria – for example, if you touched your eye with unwashed hands it could transfer bacteria to the eye area and result in a sty. There are also various skin conditions that can cause chronic inflammation along the edge of the eyelid, resulting in sties.

As far as what to do about your sty, sties usually go away within a few days on its own without any kind of treatment. If you experience any pain because of a sty, you can always apply a warm washcloth to your eyelid to relieve any discomfort. Some keys things to remember if you have a sty:

  • It might be tempting to pop the sty or squeeze the pus out – but this is definitely not recommended as it can cause the infection to spread and can actually prolong healing time.  
  • If you have a sty and you usually wear make-up, it is recommended to stay away from eye make-up until the sty has healed.
  • If you wear contacts it is best to go without your contacts until the sty heals as it is possible for contacts to become contaminated with bacteria associated with the sty.

If a sty does not go away on its own after several days, check in with your doctor. In some cases, antibiotics are prescribed and in other cases a doctor will lance and drain the sty to relieve pain and pressure. But these treatment methods are usually not needed.

If you have any other questions or concerns about your sty, check in with your primary care physician, adolescent medicine specialist, or ophthalmologist. If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.