By Dr. Parag Sawal
February 20, 2023 (IANSlife) A stye (stye) is a red, painful lump around the edge of your eyelid that may look like a boil or a pimple. It generally occurs when an oil gland or hair follicle around the eyelid becomes infected or clogged.
There are many oil glands near our eyes that produce an oil that helps tears stick to the eye and keeps them lubricated. These glands can become blocked by excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria which results in a pimple-like formation on your eyelid, where the eyelash meets the lid. It is quite similar to how a pimple forms when the pores on your face become clogged up.
Styes can heal anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Here are some home remedies that can help relieve symptoms of a stye and speed up the healing process.
Warm compress: Warm compresses help relieve pain, reduce inflammation and ease the drainage of pus from inside the stye and clear the inflammation. To prepare a warm compress, you just need to soak a compress, or clean a piece of cloth in warm water and then remove the excess liquid and place it on an area of the stye for five-ten minutes. It is the safest and easiest way to get rid of a stye, so if you don’t have the time or the energy to put together the other remedies, you can try this one. The warm water will help to reduce the swelling and your stye should heal in four days at most.
Use a warm tea bag: A warm tea bag is another thing that can be used as a compressor. It is best for this purpose; it can reduce swelling and has some anti-bacterial properties. The method is simple enough. First, one must drop a tea bag in a pot of boiled water and let it steep for about a minute. Let the tea bag cool down, and then use it as a compressor for five to 10 minutes. Use this technique on one or both eyes, but always make sure to use a separate tea bag for each.
Massage with aloe vera: You can also gently massage the area around your eyelid with your hands to promote drainage. You should never try to directly pop the stye. Instead, you should carefully massage the surrounding area near the stye to help it loosen up and release the infected material on its own.
Wash with baby shampoo: Use baby shampoo on your eyelids in order to stop new styes from developing in the eye. Baby shampoo is gentle and doesn’t irritate the eye. Mix some with normal water and use a cotton swab to clean your eyelids. You can do this every other day.
Use saline solution: Saline solution also has anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and anti-bacterial properties present in it, that are beneficial in treating many infections and even styes. Sometimes, a stye even causes sleeplessness, so it becomes the first priority to treat pain more than inflammation. A saline solution can do wonders in such cases. The warmth of the saline solution will soothe the irritating eye stye. It will not only reduce the pain but the swelling too.
Avoid wearing makeup: While your stye heals, avoid touching the area near your eyes, and don’t wear makeup until the infection heals. Always, make sure to replace your eye makeup with a new product before you start wearing makeup again. You should also be replacing your eye makeup at least every five-six months to prevent bacteria from building up in the product and then getting enter into your eye.
Switch to glasses: While your stye is healing, you need to avoid using anything near your eye that could introduce more bacteria to the infected area. Unfortunately, that means it would be better to avoid wearing contacts and switch to glasses until your stye is completely healed.
Furthermore, most styes heal on their own or with the help of home remedies in about one to two weeks. If a stye lasts longer or appears to worsen, see your ophthalmologist or health care provider. The doctor will assess and evaluate the results of the testing to determine a diagnosis and recommend medical and home treatments.
(Dr. Parag Sawal, Sr. Consultant, Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals, an ophthalmologist at Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals.)