What are the treatments for a sty?

A sty usually will disappear on its own in a few days. However, to reduce the pain and swelling, a sty can be treated at home with self care. Treat as follows:

  • Apply a warm washcloth to the eyelid. Apply for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, 3 to 5 times a day. Rewarm washcloth as needed by soaking it in warm water. Wring out excess water, then reapply to the eyelid.
  • Gently wipe away eyelid drainage with mild soap such as Johnson’s baby shampoo and water, or eyelid wipes (available in drug stores).

Also follow these tips:

  • Do not squeeze or pop a sty.
  • Do not rub or touch your eyelid.
  • Do not wear makeup or contact lenses until the area has fully healed.

A sty that does not improve within 48 hours of self care may require medical treatment by a doctor. Treatments given by doctors include:

  • In-office incision (under local anesthesia) to drain the sty
  • Antibiotic ointment to apply to the eyelid or antibiotic eye drops. Sometimes antibiotic pills are prescribed if there is infection of the area surrounding the eye or after incision and drainage of an internal sty.
  • Steroid injection into the sty to reduce the swelling in the eyelid

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