How to Get Rid of a Stye—the Right Way
You can usually treat these pesky and painful eyelid spots at home—but make sure you follow these directions for how to get rid of a stye and heal safely and soundly
Start using warm compresses
The first tip for how to get rid of a stye is to start treatment the second you feel a stye coming on—tenderness and a painful swollen lump along your eyelid are the first indications. “Start warm compresses if you think you may have a stye,” says optometrist Randy McLaughlin, OD, at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “You should use warm compresses as hot as the eyelid can stand for five to ten minutes at a time, four times a day.” See what eye boogers indicate about your eye health.
Toss out your eye makeup
Unfortunately, if you’ve used your mascara or eyeliner in the days leading up to the stye, it’s probably time to toss that item and pick up a new one. Your old eye makeup may be contaminated with the same staph bacteria that caused the stye to form.
Keep your eyelid clean
Cleaning your eyelid regularly can help reduce the amount of bacteria and help speed healing, according to McLaughlin. He suggests cleaning the affected areas with a Q-tip and a small amount of baby shampoo, which won’t irritate your eyes. Check out these 13 tips for healthier eyes.
Don’t wear your contacts
For the duration of the stye, you should switch back to your eyeglasses until the eyelid heals. And Robert Melendez, MD, of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, recommends thoroughly cleaning your lenses and lens case or, ideally, switching to new lenses to prevent another infection. Beware of 18 other contact lens mistakes that could ruin your eyes.
Just say no to “popping”
Even if a stye looks like a pimple, it can be all too tempting to squeeze the pus out of it. But that’s definitely not how to get rid of a stye—and it could lead to complications, increasing the time it takes to heal and causing a secondary skin infection that could require prescription antibiotics to clear up. Experts recommend sticking with the hot compresses and letting them work their magic.
Take over-the-counter meds for the pain
They won’t help your stye heal faster, but taking an over-the-counter pain reliever could help make the time it takes to heal a whole lot less irritating for you. Learn the 13 secrets your eye doctor may be keeping from you.
See a doctor if it doesn’t get better
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If your stye doesn’t improve after a few days of following the compress-and-cleaning method, then it’s time to consult a doctor for more advice on how to get rid of a stye. “The biggest mistake people make is waiting too long to seek treatment via an eye-care professional,” McLaughlin says. Try these 10 home remedies for dry, irritated eyes.
Avoid behaviors that make a stye more likely
The best advice for how to get rid of a stye is not to get one in the first place. And that means not only keeping the area around your eyes clean, but also thoroughly cleaning your hands, contact lenses, and anything else that touches your eye. Be sure to swap out your eye makeup regularly—and not sharing with others; finally, be sure to wash away your eye makeup thoroughly every night. Discover health conditions eye doctors often find first.