How Do I Avoid Getting a Stye in My Eye?

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Styes (or sties) can be incredibly uncomfortable. That’s why it’s no surprise so many are asking what they can do to not only get rid of them but also prevent them altogether.

Our #AskAnEyeDoc series puts your questions in front of VSP network eye doctors for an opportunity to learn more about eye health. Our most recent episode features Dr. Joseph Allen, OD, who offers us a wealth of information about preventing those pesky styes.

What are styes?

“Styes are actually a small infection of the oil glands along the eyelid,” said Dr. Allen. “They can be really uncomfortable, but they typically do not cause vision problems.”

According to Dr. Allen, the first signs of a stye usually include pain, redness, swelling, and tenderness around the eyelid. Often mistaken as a pimple, it’s important not to try and “pop” it. The bacteria that causes a stye can spread easily, so you’ll also want to make sure that the stye bacteria do not come in contact with someone else’s eye.

How do I make them go away?

“In general, most people can treat them at home just by doing warm compresses,” he said. “You should do this for eight to ten minutes, four times a day.”

Dr. Allen also reminds us about another basic health practice that can prevent styes.

“Washing your hands is an essential way to keep your eyes clean,” he said. “Rubbing your eyes with dirty hands can put you at an increased risk for infection.”

For those who experience frequent styes, there is more you can do.

“Cleaning your eyelids using a mild soap or warm water on a regular basis can help,” said Dr. Allen. “If you are someone who wears makeup a lot, make sure you are not sleeping in it and that you are able to clean it off really well before going to bed.”

Of course, if your stye is persistent, it’s important to talk with your eye doctor so they can help treat it properly.

Hear more from Dr. Allen in this episode of #AskAnEyeDoc:

Haven’t had your annual eye exam yet? Find your VSP network eye doctor at Choose one who participates in the Premier Program to get the most out of your benefits.


  • Matt says:

    From my childhood in the 70’s, the cure for a sty was to rub a piece of gold … typically a wedding band, gently over the sty.
    Sty goes away.

  • Esther Whittle says:

    A style in my eye turned out to be a blocked oil gland from blethoritis. I have to use hot packs on my eyes to melt the oil and use Rx meds forever.

    • Shirley says:

      I too have. Blepharitis and it’s awful. I wash them several times per day and also use baby shampoo, just started getting sty’s. What RX do you use that has helped

  • Alex Marr says:

    The posting above seems to indicate that stye is similar to blepharitis i.e. condition related to the oil glands. My ophthalmologist recommends washing the eyes each morning with baby shampoo to avoid occurrence. can Dr. Allen comment on that?

  • 1974 I continual styes in my eyes, atleast every 2 weeks, then in Fall of 1974, I came down with Gullain Barre Syndrome (GBS) Life changer for sure. So infection was raging in my body. Also had terrible cold/lungs/muscus so that contributed to the infamous GBS. Colds and styes can be telling you something, listen!

  • Denise McDonald says:

    My Doctor recommended using a facial wash, like Cetaphil, directly on my face and eyelids daily, as I was getting styes frequently. I have not had one again since, and it has been two years. I do this daily, both morning and night.

  • Haworth Corporate says:

    this was a very interesting read thank you

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