Understanding Sty -- Treatment

Last Editorial Review: 4/6/2006

WebMD Medical Reference
Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson, MD
on Tuesday, January 01, 2002

The Basics | Symptoms | Treatment | Prevention

What Are the Treatments?

While painful and unsightly, most stys heal within a few days on their own or with simple treatment. Chalazia, too, often disappear on their own, but it might take a month or more.

Typical treatment for a sty consists of applying warm compresses to the affected eye for 10 to 15 minutes four times daily for several days. This not only relieves pain and inflammation but also helps the sty ripen faster. Be sure to close your eye while you apply the compresses. When the sty comes to a head, continue applying warm compresses to relieve pressure and promote rupture. Do not squeeze the sty. Let it burst on its own.

If stys recur, your doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic. Take the antibiotic as directed.

Minor surgery may be needed to completely drain a sty. After applying a local anesthetic, your ophthalmologist opens the sty and removes the contents. The eyelid usually heals quickly.

Although a chalazion will often disappear on its own, applying warm compresses may accelerate the healing process. Selected patients may benefit from a direct injection of anti-inflammatory medication to the area. The chalazion can also be removed through simple surgery under a local anesthetic. Your surgeon will usually apply an eyelid bandage for 24 hours.

Medically Reviewed by William C. Lloyd, MD, July 2005.

SOURCES: Bradford, C (Editor) Basic Ophthalmology, American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2004. pp 88-91. The Mayo Clinic.

The Basics | Symptoms | Treatment | Prevention

© 2005 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors