What Is A Stye?
Pimple like reddish lumps that form on the outside edge of either upper or lower eyelid is called a stye. It is a result of acute bacterial infection and may eventually be filled with pus, making the lump tender and painful. Some people also refer to it as ‘sty’ and medically it is known as hordeolum. Though the problem commonly occurs along the edge of the outer eyelid, sometimes it may occur on the internal eyelid as well, known as internal hordeolum. It might not be painful for some, but is surely annoying, though rarely serious.
What Causes Styes In Eyes?
The eye infection is caused due to Inflammation or infection of a follicle or an oil gland along the eye lash. Our eyelids are made up of lots of tiny oil glands, especially towards the edge and impurities like dirt, makeup, oil build-up, dead skin etc. can clog them up. Clogging of these oil glands block their actions resulting in bacterial infection and causing a stye to develop. It may eventually develop a white head when it gets filled with pus, making it painful.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Stye?
The following symptoms are suggestive of a bacterial infection:
- Inflammation, pain and swelling along the edge of the eye
- Formation of a reddish lump that looks like a pimple
- A persistent sore and itchy feeling along with a burning sensation
- Watery and mucus discharge from the eye
- Difficulty in blinking
- Formation of a crust along the edge of the eye
If your problem is not painful, it may well be a chalazion, which can be treated like a sty but takes longer to heal.
How To Treat A Sty?
This eye problem is generally treated with home remedies, though in worse cases your doctor may recommend using antibiotic eyedrops or ointment. Antibiotic tablets may also be prescribed if the infection has spread further to the eye. However, these are rare cases as it get better with home remedies and heal in about 2 weeks.
Home Remedies For Stye In The Eye
The below listed 10 effective home remedies speed up the healing process of a stye and help relieve pain and discomfort that it brings along.
1) Warm Compress: A warm compress is a simple yet most effective way to heal the infection. It promotes the stye to drain naturally by dissolving the pus and oil through the warmth. Blood circulation is increased by using a warm compress and symptoms like pain and inflammation are also reduced.
- All you need is a clean towel and a bowl of warm water. Dip the towel in the water and wring it to get rid of excess water
- Apply the towel on the area in and around the infection for 5 minutes 4-5 times a day
- The pus will melt and start coming out
- Clean the pus with another towel and continue to do so till the pus stops coming out
2) Turmeric: Turmeric is known for its anti-bacterial and healing properties. Available commonly in Indian homes, it can help you get rid of a stye easily.
- Take 2 cups of water in a pain and add a tablespoon of turmeric
- Boil the mixture until it is reduced to half
- Let it cool to a comfortable temperature and strain the mixture through a clean cloth
- Wash your eyes with this water two or three times a day
- Drinking a cup of warm milk with a teaspoon of turmeric mixed in it also speeds up healing
3) Baby Shampoo: A mild baby shampoo can be an effective way to clean the affected area and prevent impurities from building up.
- Dilute a few drops of baby shampoo in a cup of warm water until it dissolves completely.
- Clean the affected area with this solution using a cotton swab.
- Rinse the eye with warm water, and follow with a warm compress.
4) Aloe Vera: Aloe vera has been dubbed as a popular cleansing and healing agent in recent times. It has anti-bacterial properties and soothes the tender area.
- Simply cut open an Aloe Vera leaf and extract the gel
- Gently rub the gel at the infected area and leave it on for about 20 minutes
- Rinse your eye with warm water
- Follow this remedy for 4-5 days for the stye to go away quickly
5) Coriander Seeds: Another common kitchen ingredient, coriander seeds can help you get rid of the problem quickly.
- Boil a teaspoon of coriander seeds in a cup of water
- Allow the solution to cool down completely
- Strain the mixture and then use it to clean your eyes
- Rinse the eyes with lukewarm water
6) Tea Bag: If a warm, cloth compress is not your way, use a warm tea bag instead. You can use green tea or any other black tea, but you need to use separate tea bags for both the eyes.
- Boil a cup of water and drop a teabag into it.
- Let it sit to steep for about a minute.
- Place it on your eye for 5-10 minutes once it has cooled to a comfortable temperature.
7) Guava leaves: Guava leaves have been used in traditional medicine for their antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties.
- Place guava leaves washed with hot water in a cloth that has been soaked in clean, hot water.
- Once the cloth cools down, place one of the leaves on the affected area on the eye.
- Repeat the process with other leaves as well.
- Do this twice daily for 4-5 days to get effective results.
8) Cloves: Most of us have used cloves to get relief from toothaches, but did you know that they can also help to treat styes?
- In a glass of water, add a few cloves and let them sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Using a sieve, strain the water.
- Soak a clean washcloth in the same water and after wringing out excess water, place it on the affected area on the eye for a minute or two.
- Repeat this twice daily for 3-4 days to get relief
9) Potato: Potato is often used for beauty and in home-made face packs. It has string anti-inflammatory properties and can help you treat the infection.
- Take a cheese-cloth and wrap a medium sized grated potato into it tightly making a ball.
- Place this ball on the site of infection for about 10 minutes.
- Doing the same twice daily for 3-4 days will get rid of the eye problem
10) Massage: Massaging the site of infection, that is the eye with lid in small, gentle circular motions can also cause the pus to drain out naturally. Make sure your hands are clean and you do not exert pressure. Stop immediately if you feel pain. After the pus gets drained out, clean the area with a washcloth and maintain optimum hygiene.
11) Palming: Sit comfortably in an arm chair and relax with your eyes closed. Cover eyes with your palms, right palm over right eye and left over the left. Do not press your eyes. With eyes closed, try to imagine blackness, which grows blacker & blacker. Palming reduces strain and relaxes the eyes. Styes could be prevented by good hygiene, proper diet and using methods of relaxing and strengthening eyes.
12) Vitamin A: If you are getting stye frequently then this might be a sign of vitamin A deficiency. Include Vitamin A in your diet and this problem could stop completely with 1 month. Contact your doctor if the diet change is not working.
13) Acacia Leaves: Prepare a concentrated extract out of handful acacia leaves by boiling it with 2 cups of water. Use it as compress on eyelids for fast relief from stye in the eye. Strain the preparation properly before use.
14) Triphala water: The eyes for the people suffering from Cataract should be washed with triphala water. To make triphala water, add 1 tsp of triphala powder in 1 glass of water and let it stay overnight. Filter it in the morning and use it to wash your eyes.
In addition to using above home remedies, avoid wearing eye makeup and contact lenses till the problem is there.
Can You Pop A Stye On Your Eye?
Though it may seem tempting to squeeze and pop open the stye, it is highly not recommended. Popping it open may release the pus but the infection could spread further. Moreover, the eyelid tissues are very delicate and minor pressure can cause them damage. Never touch the affected area with dirty hands or rub the eye hard with a towel.
How Long Does It Take For A Stye To Go Away?
From a few days to a couple of weeks, this eye infection could bother you but will heal itself naturally even if you do not do anything. However, if you use any home remedy or the infection does not heal itself within a week or two, it is best to seek medical advice and use prescribed antibiotic ointments and eyedrops as directed. Also seek medical advice if it becomes bigger, painful, or you notice the tenderness and swelling spread to other glands.
Is A Stye In My Eye Contagious?
The infection is an equivalent of a pimple and acne, and so does not spread through casual contact. Though it may look and feel irritable, it is largely a case of local inflammation caused due to bacterial infection.
In case the problem does not go within few days then it might need to be drained. This procedure should be carried out only by trained professional. Do not attempt to do it yourself or else the infection might further go in bloodstream and could create altogether a different problem. If the problem still persists than doctor could prescribe antibiotics. The problem is also called as Ranjanwadi and Bilani in India.
The patient should avoid excessive intake of starchy and sugary foods. Infection can spread from an infected person to other members of the family. Precautions like giving separate towel, soap should be taken. Do not burst the stye as it could spread in the eye which is not infected. Never touch it with hands as your hand might contain germs which could make things worse. The infection is contagious so a very good hygiene is required.
Eye exercises like moving the eyes gently up & down, side to side in a circle, clockwise and anticlockwise and rotating the neck in circles and semi circles helps. The patient could also resort to palming. It removes strain and relaxes eyes and surrounding tissues.