What Is a Stye?

Have you ever had redness or soreness on your eyelid?  It may also appear to be a pimple or a red bump.  Chances are, you may have had a stye.

A stye occurs when an area around your eyelid becomes irritated or a gland becomes clogged, similar to how a pimple is formed.  Your eyelid has numerous tiny oil glands, especially around the eyelashes.  Dead skin, dirt, or oil can build up and clog or irritate these areas.  When a gland is clogged, bacteria can grow and cause a stye to develop.

The swelling for a style can last about three days.  Then the stye will usually drain on its own, but in stubborn cases oral antibiotics prescribed by one of our doctors will speed up the resolution.  The healing process usually lasts about 7 to 10 days, and about half that with antibiotics when warranted.

Styes are rarely a serious medical issue.  If a stye is lingering beyond two weeks without medical intervention, you should see a doctor.  In some cases, a stye can turn into a non-resolving problem called a chalazion.  A chalazion typically require surgical intervention, but if caught early surgery can often be prevented.


  • Your eye feels sensitive to bright light and very sensitive to touch
  • Crust is present along the eyelid
  • Your eye feels itchy
  • Your eye produces more tears
  • You feel like there’s something in your eye, or there is a “full” feeling of pressure around the eye
  • A red bump appears on your eyelid


After several days, most styes disintegrate on their own.  But cleaning them helps to get rid of them.

  • Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning the stye
  • Soak a clean washcloth in warm water and place over the stye
  • Place the warm washcloth over your eye for about 5 to 10 minutes, which helps to dissolve the pus
  • Be sure to keep your face and eyes clean
  • Remove any crust you see around your eye
  • Do not touch or rub your eyes
  • Do not pop, squeeze, or touch a stye. This could lead to the infection spreading.

Don’t wear eye makeup or wear contact lenses while a stye is present.  Before wearing your contact lenses again, be sure to clean and disinfect them thoroughly.  To be safe, you should throw out your old pair and wear a fresh, new pair of contacts.

Contact one of our experienced eye doctors here at Primary Eyecare to seek advice and treatment, or to help speed up the healing process.  Our doctors are trained to treat styes and other eye conditions.

Click here to request an appointment!