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Styes & How To Get Rid of Them

Updated on February 29, 2012

Welcome To My Stye Lens

Hey everyone,

Thanks for visiting my lens about styes and how to get rid of them.

On this page, you will learn what styes are are, what causes them and (most importantly) the steps you can take to cure them quickly and efficiently.


Warm Compress
Warm Compress

The Best Way To Get Rid of a Stye

The warm compress

Your body's immune system will usually heal your stye naturally and without any interaction within two or three weeks.

Fortunately, there's a great technique you can use to speed up this process and it is called the warm compress.

A warm compress is simply a soft clean towel or flannel that you soak in warm water and hold against your eye for five or ten minutes. The heat and moisture help to bring the stye to a head sooner and burst.

The warm compress should be applied periodically three or four times a day.

Using this method, you can get rid of your stye within a couple of days (the warm compress is explained in more detail - and with photographs - here).

Other Ways To Get Rid of Styes

The Warm Compress will get rid of 95% of styes within a few days but in the minority of cases where it is not effective, you do have a few more options:

  1. If the is in an eyelash follicle, try plucking the eyelash and continuing with the warm compress.
  2. Visit your doctor who will be able to offer antibiotics or surgery to remove the stye.
  3. If the pain is unbearable, painkillers can be used to take the edge off.

There are a number of creams and ointments available on the market without prescription, however based on my own experience they are a complete waste of time and money!

Other techniques that are also a waste of money include rubbing a gold ring on the stye, rubbing a copper penny on the stye and steaming the stye with a mixture of boiling water and various herbs or spices (actually, this final method can work but you don't need to use the herbs and spices, just the boiling water - it is based on the same premise as the warm compress).

More details about these methods can be found here.

If you don't have time to hold the compress against your eye, you can get special 'eye-patches' that warm up automatically and hold the compress against your eye. You can read about them here.

What Are Styes?

Styes are simply an infection of one of the glands or follicles on the eyelids by the staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

This bacteria usually lives in the nasal cavities without causing any harm but if there is a break in the skin around the eyelids and it is transferred to the area around the eyes, it will cause a stye.

What Causes Styes?

...and are they contagious?

As mentioned above, styes are caused by the staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

To develop a stye, two things must happen:

  • there must be a break in the skin around the eyelid
  • and the bacteria must be transported to the eyelid.

It is possible to have breaks in the skin of the eyelid without even knowing they're there, because they are so tiny. These small wounds can be caused if a follicle becomes blocked with dead skin or mascara, so making sure you clean off all make-up and wash your face every day is a good way of preventing this.

For the bacteria to be located around the eyes, it must be transported there (it cannot move there itself). One common method of transportation is by rubbing your eyes after rubbing your nose. You can also get an infection by touching an object that someone carrying the bacteria has touched such as doorknobs, mascara applicators or keyboards.

The lesson here is to avoid touching the eyes with your fingers and wash your hands regularly.

Although, technically, styes are contagious, it is uncommon for the disease to be passed from person to person, so there is no need to take a day off work or school.

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