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: