If you notice the development of a painful red swelling on your eyelid resembling a small pimple or a boil, you are experiencing a stye. A stye occurs when the sebacious glands on the eyelids get a bacterial infection or an oil gland at the base of the eyelashes becomes blocked with dirt. Using dirty make-up applicators, rubbing your eyes with dirty hands and using old make-up can all bring about a stye infection.
Although styes can be quite painful and irritate the eye and surrounding area for several days, they are not a permanent threat to vision or the overall health of the eye if certain procedures are taken.
It is important to avoid wearing any sort of eye makeup, including mascara or eyeliner, while a stye is healing. Use a mild anti-bacterial soap to wash the eyelid area several times daily, keeping eyes tightly closed so that the soap doesn't irritate the eyeball or the inner lining of the eye.
After the soap and water cleaning, soak a clean washcloth in warm water and squeeze out until it's barely damp. Apply this warm compress to the stye for a period of 10 to 15 minutes, at least two to three times daily. If necessary, reheat the compress if it cools too quickly. You want to bathe this area in comfortable heat because the heating action will help to kill the bacterial infection.
Avoid rubbing your eyes when the eyelid has a stye infection. Be sure that your hands are always extremely clean whenever you need to wash the eyelid area or apply your daily compresses. No matter how tempting it may seem, avoid the urge to squeeze the stye area as this might infect the eyelid even further. Do not poke or prod the raised bump with a needle or any other sharp object because you risk doing permanent damage to either the eye or your eyesight. Avoid placing any oily or greasy ointments on the stye or the eyelid area, as you risk getting the ointment into your eye and damaging your vision.
In addition to treating the stye with regular sessions using a warm compress, there are several other soothing remedies which should help the stye heal a lot faster. Soak a tea bag containing green or black tea in warm water, squeeze until damp, then apply the moist tea bag to the eye for 5 to 10 minutes. Tea contains tannic acid which will aid in killing the bacterial infection causing the stye.
If you have an aloe vera plant on your kitchen window sill, break off one of the leaves and place the inside of the leaf containing the gel next to the stye area, keeping your eye closed so that the gel won't touch your eyeball. If a stye persists for more than seven days, make an appointment with your eye doctor or a dermatologist to see if stronger anti-bacterial medication is necessary.
Tips for Healing an Eyelid Stye
(1) Keep the area clean with mild soap and water.
(2) Don't poke or prod the stye hoping to squeeze out the pus.
(3) Apply warm compresses, warm tea bags or aloe vera gel several times daily.
(4) Avoid wearing make-up while the stye is healing and avoid rubbing the area.