Understanding Sty -- Prevention

Last Editorial Review: 4/6/2006

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

The Basics | Symptoms | Treatment |


How Can I Prevent Sties?

If stys tend to recur, you probably need to practice better lid hygiene. That means regular lid scrubs to remove excess germs and cellular debris. Put a few drops of mild baby shampoo into a teacup of warm water and stir. Using a cotton swab, gently brush the soapy solution along the base of your eyelashes while keeping your lids closed. Don't have time to mix baby shampoo? Scrub your closed lids with a soapy washcloth in the shower.

Regardless of the technique, it is the mechanical rubbing that keeps the lids clear of cellular debris. It is always important that you avoid contact of the eyelid with cosmetics, dirty towels or contaminated hands.

Recurrent stys may be associated with a chronic facial skin problem called Acne Rosacea. Your doctor or consulting dermatologist will be able to confirm the presence of rosacea and initiate effective medical therapy.

Many people with stys experience pinpoint tenderness involving a few eyelashes as an early warning. Frequent application of warm compresses at the first sign of an infection will speed resolution and prevent further blockage of the lid glands.

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.

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