Sty - Treatment

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What is the treatment for a Sty (Stye)?

A non-infected hordeolum will resolve on its own. Warm compresses may help soften the material in the gland, easing the drainage of the gland's contents. Squeezing or cutting the hordeolum can cause the skin to become scarred.

A non-infected chalazion similarly will resolve on its own, though over a much longer period of time. A small chalazion may resolve within weeks, while larger ones may resolve over the course of a year.

The most conservative treatment is application of frequent warm compresses. Steroids can be injected into the lesion, often resulting in a speedier resolution. However this carries a small risk of bleeding/bruising, depigmentation/thinning of the skin, scar, pain, and in very rare cases, loss of vision.

Finally, the chalazion can be incised and drained. This is the most invasive method and is reserved as a last resort by most eye doctors. The eyelid is anesthetized, and a clamp is placed around the chalazion. The eyelid is everted, and the meibomian gland is incised from the back surface of the eyelid, avoiding cutting the skin on the front surface. The waxy sebum is 'scooped' out of the gland with a special curette. This 'debulking' of the gland's contents may be sufficient to shrink the chalazion; however, there is risk that the chalazion may recur, particularly if the underlying cause is not addressed.

If either type of sty appears infected, oral antibiotics may be necessary. This is particularly important if the infection is spreading along the skin (cellulitis) or spreading into the orbit (orbital cellulitis). Orbital cellulitis is considered an emergency, as rapidly spreading infection can threaten a person's vision and even a person's life and can require intravenous antibiotics.

In some situations, the infection spreads to the eye itself. Depending on what the eye doctor finds on careful slit lamp examination of the eye, topical antibiotics (drops or ointment) might be sufficient.

Treatment of the underlying cause of the sty is also important to prevent recurrence.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Ms Lowman, 3-6 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 11

I have one child who's three, so when she got a sty on her in as no idea what to do I knew I didn't want her to walk around with an ugly bump on her face. The first and only thing I tried was the gold ring trick I read on this site. First I cleaned her with warm water using a soft cloth then I took my 14 carat gold wedding ring and rubbed it fast on the carpet and placed it under her eye where the sty was. I did this two or three times. The next morning her eye was huge, full of pus that had drained. I wiped it away with a soft cloth and warm water and minutes later she was back to her beautiful little self. I was so amazed it really works.

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Comment from: Randy, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: June 07

I routinely had sties through high school and they drove me crazy. It would start with the irritation, the swelling and so on. I went to an old family doctor for something else and as I was there he noticed the stye and said we can do something about that. He told me I have a riboflavin, B2 deficiency. I picked up some at the drug store and within a day or so, it was gone. I did not take a pill every day, but when I would start getting the symptoms, I would take a pill for a few days and no stye. I am now 65 and a couple days ago I woke up with the irritation on my right lower eye lid and sure enough, I had the small pimple thing starting. I immediately found my B2 pills and took one and after a couple days another one. As in the past, the stye did not develop and went away. It worked for me 50 years ago and this still works now.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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