How to treat a Stye

A stye is a common condition that can involve the upper and/or lower eyelid. Usually, the eyelid can become red and tender to the touch. Sometimes, a white spot is visible on the eyelid margin or closer to the skin. The eyelid may begin to droop from the swelling and it can interfere with the vision.

When a stye first appears, it is important to apply hot compresses to the eyelid. This helps the blocked oil gland to open and the swelling to improve. The compresses should be as hot as possible, but not so hot that they burn the skin. They can be applied for five to ten minutes every two to three hours. Often, if the stye is treated early, it will improve on its own.

When the stye persists after hot compresses or the redness gets worse, a visit to the eye doctor is necessary to see if medications will treat the condition. Eye drops, ointments, and oral antibiotics are sometimes necessary to treat a stye. These can be done with hot compresses to help the blocked oil gland to open on its own.

If the stye still persists after medications and at-home remedies, then it is likely that it will need to be drained in the office. During this simple procedure, the eyelid is numbed and the blocked oil gland is opened. This is usually done from the back of the eyelid to reduce the risk of scarring. Again, antibiotic ointments are usually recommended along with hot compresses to ensure the body fights off the remainder of the inflammation.

Drainage of a stye or chalazion is usually performed by an oculoplastic surgeon (eyelid specialist). Oculoplastic surgery services are available throughout our offices on Long Island – Smithtown, Riverhead, Garden City, Hempstead, Southampton, Southold, Deer Park, Holbrook, and Huntington. Weekend and evening appointments are available for patients who cannot come to the office during working hours.

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