A style or sty (hordeolum) is a red bump, sort of like a pimple, that forms on the outside edge of the eyelid. Your eyelids have lots of tiny oil glands, especially around the eyelashes. Dead skin, dirt, or oil buildup can clog or block these small holes. When a gland is blocked, bacteria can grow inside and cause a style to develop.
Symptoms of a style include:
- pain and swelling
- increased tear production
- a crust that forms around the eyelid
- soreness and itchiness
If your style isn’t painful, it may be a chalazion. Treatments for chalazion and styles are similar, but a chalazion may take longer to heal.
Here are eight ways to speed up the healing process for styles.
#1. Use a warm compress
- A warm compress is the most effective way to treat a style.
- The warmth helps bring the pus to the surface and dissolve the pus and oil so the style can drain naturally.
- Wet a clean washcloth with warm water. Make sure the water is not too hot. Wring the cloth so it’s damp but not dripping.
- Then gently place it over your eye for about 5 to 10 minutes. Do not squeeze or try to puncture the style.
#2. Clean your eyelid & mild soap & water
- Choose a tear-free baby shampoo and mix it with a bit of warm water.
- Use it to gently wipe off your eyelids using a cotton swab or clean washcloth.
- You can do this every day until the style is gone. Cleaning your eyelids also helps prevent future styles.
- Another option is to use a saline solution.
- It can help promote drainage and break down bacterial membranes.
#3. Use a warm tea bag
- Instead of using a warm cloth compress, you can use a warm tea bag.
- Black tea works best because it helps reduce swelling and has some antibacterial properties.
- Boil water and drop the tea bag in a mug of it as if you were making tea to drink.
- Let the tea steep for about one minute. Wait until the tea bag cools enough to place over your eye, then keep it on your eye for about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Use a separate tea bag for each eye.
#4. Take over-the-counter painkillers
- Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol) to ease the pain.
- Follow the instructions on the package to make sure you’re taking the correct dosage.
- If the style is causing serious pain and interferes with your day-to-day activity, visit your doctor.
#5. Avoid using makeup & wearing contact lenses
- Avoid using makeup if you have a style.
- Makeup can irritate the eye even more and delay the healing process.
- You can also transfer bacteria to your makeup and tools and spread the infection to your other eye.
- Wash your reusable brushes regularly.
- Throw out any eye products that are over three months old.
- If you wear contact lenses, stick with glasses until your style heals.
- Bacteria from the style can get onto the contacts and spread the infection.
#6. Use antibiotic ointments
- You can buy over-the-counter stye ointments at your pharmacy.
- To use these ointments, pull the lid of the affected eye and apply about a quarter-inch of ointment inside the eyelid.
- Avoid using topical steroids for your style. They may cause side effects.
- Make sure that any product you use is made to be used in or on the eye.
- Also, there is little evidence that antibiotic eye drops work for external styles.
#7. Massage the area to promote drainage
- You can massage the area in combination with the lid wipes to promote drainage.
- Massage the area gently with clean hands.
- Once the style drains, keep the area clean and avoid touching your eyes.
- Stop if massaging hurts.
#8. Get medical treatment from your doctor
- Your doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic cream for infections.
- For inflammation, your doctor may give you a steroid shot to reduce swelling.
- Sometimes styles need to be professionally drained, especially if they are internal or affect your vision.