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What is a Stye & How do I Cure It Safely?

Do you have something that looks like a little pimple on the rim of your eyelid? Is it super uncomfortable and painful every time you blink? That would be a stye.

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Even though they’re gross (and annoying) there’s nothing abnormal about getting one. And you’re not alone; everyone that has eyes is susceptible to these small-but-mighty infections. With a little time and a few home-remedies, you can get rid of your pesky stye- and maybe even learn how to avoid getting another one in the future.

Keep reading below to learn what a stye is, how you can get rid of a stye quickly, and how to avoid getting a stye ever again.

What is a Stye, Anyway?

A stye is a small, painful, pus-filled lump that forms as the result of a bacterial infection, and can appear on either your upper or lower eyelid. Yeah, they really couldn’t form in a less-convenient place.

“Eyelids are so so sensitive. The thin skin and thin barrier make it a very susceptible area to irritation,” Mona Gohara, MD told Well+Good. “I’ve even gotten styes from mascara!”

Typically, bacterial infections can be caused by touching your eyes with unwashed hands, using expired or contaminated makeup, sleeping with your eye makeup on, or putting in and removing your contact lenses before thoroughly disinfecting them.

Some of the symptoms you may experience if you have a stye are:

  • a painful, red lump on your eyelid (at the base of your eyelashes)
  • feeling like there is something in your eye when you blink
  • experiencing difficulty blinking
  • sensitivity to light
  • watery or teary eyes

If you have a stye, do yourself a favor and refrain from squeezing, popingp, itching or needlessly touching it- otherwise you’ll risk spreading the infection and making the irritation even worse. You can thank us later.

How Do I Get Rid of a Stye?

An average stye can last anywhere from a few days, up to a full week- but they don’t necessarily have to!

There are a few things you can do to get rid of a stye, from the comfort of your own couch. If you’re looking to ease the pain and make your stye go away faster, here are some tried-and-true ways to get rid of a stye:

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Use a Warm Compress for Styes

Soak a washcloth in warm water- as warm as you can stand, without burning yourself! Wring it out, and gently hold it against your closed eye for about 5-10 minutes. Do this a few times a day, until your stye is gone. The heat will help increase circulation to the infected area, and will encourage the pus to drain.

A warm compress will also relieve some of the pain and swelling, until your stye heals on its own.

Rub Aloe Vera on A Stye

Not only can aloe vera work wonders on a bad sunburn, but it can also serve as an effective treatment for styes, thanks to it’s soothing, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Rub a small amount of aloe vera gel over your closed, infected eyelid, and leave it on for about 20 minutes. Thoroughly wash and dry your eyes afterwards, and repeat this a few times a day until your stye is gone.

Try Eyebright Tea for a Painful Stye

In addition to using a warm compress, many people have found that gently pressing a warm teabag on their stye will help reduce the pain and irritation of a stye. Heat up a small amount of water, and soak a bag of tea (try Eyebright tea for added relief!) in it for about a minute.

After it’s cooled down, hold the warm tea bag on your infected eye for about 15 minutes. Repeat this a few times a day, until your stye is gone.

Clean a Stye With Baby Shampoo

Since baby shampoo is designed to be used on ultra-sensitive skin, it’s also a great go-to for keeping a stye clean!

Mix a few drops of mild baby shampoo into a cup of warm water, soak a clean washcloth in the solution, and gently wipe along your eyelashes. Rinse the area with water and follow-up with a warm compress.

Stop Wearing Makeup If You Have a Stye

While it might be tempting to cover an unsightly red eye bump with makeup, experts strongly discourage it. If you woke up with a stye, it’s a good idea to hold off on wearing makeup until it’s gone; applying makeup to an infected, irritated area could serve to make your stye even worse.

You should also think about discarding your old makeup, as bacteria can build up in products that are expired, or makeup that may have been contaminated. Play it safe and toss any makeup that might have come in contact with the stye.

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You can take over-the-counter painkillers (like ibuprofen) to take the edge off the pain- but if you find that your stye still isn’t going away, or is getting more painful- it might be time to see an eye doctor. If you reach this point, you’ll most likely be prescribed an antibiotic.

This isn’t the end of the world- just make sure that you’re doing everything you can to avoid getting a stye in the future.

How Can I Avoid Getting a Stye in the First Place?

Since a stye is caused by bacterial build-up, a simple way to avoid getting a stye would be by keeping your eyes clean.

Each time you go to touch your eyes- whether it’s to get an eyelash out, rub away a piece of debris, or apply eyeliner- wash your hands thoroughly, first! This prevents any bacteria or germs that are (undoubtedly) on your hands from getting near the most sensitive part of your face.

By practicing proper hygiene, and not touching your eyes needlessly, you can greatly reduce the risk of getting a stye, so you never have to pirate-patch a tea bag ever again.

You can also avoid getting a stye by not sharing makeup or eye products with anyone. Even though it may seem totally harmless, research shows that by sharing eye makeup with other people, you greatly increase your chances of spreading infection. Simply put: swapping cosmetics means trading germs.

Don’t Risk It; Get LASIK!

Another way that people unknowingly expose their eyes to bacteria is through their contact lenses. Contact wearers are constantly experiencing irritation and infection as the result of their contacts, and it’s no wonder; studies show that contact lenses are breeding grounds for bacteria and germs.

While there’s certain measures you can take to avoid these annoyances- accidents do happen. Contacts can introduce bacteria and germs into your eyes, and that’s just the beginning.

Luckily, you have better options. With LasikPlus, you can choose to have 20/20 vision without the aid of glasses or contacts.

Kevin T., who recently chose to undergo LASIK surgery, said “I could see better than with my glasses within 6 hours of the surgery, which went so easy and well that it was over before I knew it. I could not contain my excitement on the drive home, kept reading the signs I could not see before without glasses. No more irritating contacts for me!”

If you have been anxious to get rid of your contacts, there’s no better time like the present. Schedule a free consultation at a LasikPlus near you!