One of the most irritating, yet easy to cure, medical conditions is a stye. In medical terms, a stye is an “inflamed swelling on the edge of an eyelid, caused by bacterial infection of the gland at the base of an eyelash.” It can cause swelling, eye pain, irritation, and much more. But fortunately, a stye is easy to treat and cure. Before we head over to prevention and how to get rid of a stye, let’s talk a little about the medical condition.
What do you need to know about styes?
As we said, a stye develops at the edge of the eyelid, when the oil gland is infected. The result is a red, tender bump that resembles a pimple. Styes can grow both on the outside and the inside of the eyelid. Here are few quick facts you need to know.
- The first symptoms of a stye include swelling, tenderness, pain, and redness in the eye. These symptoms appear even before a pimple appears on the affected area. In most cases, once a pimple appears, the next symptom is a swollen eye.
- Styes do not cause vision problems; in most cases, your ability to see will not be affected by the stye. However, if you have vision problems caused by the stye, visit a doctor,
- In most cases, a stye will heal on its own within days. However, we all want to speed up the process with some natural or over-the-counter remedies. We will get to them in a minute.
- Like pimples, you should never pop a stye. You need to allow it to rupture on its own. If your stye develops on the inside, be sure to check with a doctor.
- Styes are contagious, as they are caused by bacteria. But there’s no reason to panic.
How to get rid of a stye naturally
We are finally getting to the part about how to get rid of a stye. There are two ways. The first is by using over-the-counter products (like a cream). But they’re not as safe as natural products. So let’s take a look at some of the home and natural remedies you can use to treat a stye.
The first—and simplest—way to get rid of a stye is by cleaning it. In some cases, a stye is caused by dirt and other foreign substances reaching the eye. To clean it, wash your hands, dip a cotton ball in warm water, and then use it to gently cleanse the stye.
Another common solution is a warm compress. The warmth will stop the infection and reduce swelling. If you have a little knowledge of home remedies, you know that cold and warm compresses are usually the first options for any mild condition. In this case, a warm compress works. Dip a cotton fabric in warm water and place it over your eyes. Let the compress work its magic for 5 to 10 minutes (after that, the compress will have cooled down). That being said, re-soak it in warm water and repeat for another five minutes. Repeat the treatment three times per day.
Instead of a simple warm compress, some people like to use chamomile tea bags. The reason is simple: chamomile comes with a lot of anti-bacterial properties as well as calming properties.
Make sure to use warm—not hot—tea bags. Squeeze the excess liquid from the tea bags and apply on your eyes the same way as a warm compress.
Coriander is one of those home remedies that is great for a stye. Soak the coriander seeds in water for one hour, and then strain. Use that water wash your eyes.
Another way is to use coriander leaves (see below).
As you’ll see shortly, leaves are very effective in treating styes. But not all leaves, of course. Raspberry leaves are some of the best.
Crush them and boil in water for 10 minutes. Strain the solution, and wash your eyes with that water. You can also use raspberry tea bags to cover your eyes.
Anytime I write an article about home remedies, I always have to include aloe vera. Simply put, aloe is a cure for almost any skin condition. The reason is simple: aloe reduces redness and swelling. Cut one aloe vera lengthwise and apply the pulpy inside to the affected area. If you can’t find aloe vera leaves, soak an eye pad in aloe vera juice and apply it on your eyes. You can even mix aloe vera juice with chamomile tea for maximum benefits.
I know it might sound disgusting at first, but saliva is actually very helpful for skin conditions. Just think of it this way: anytime an insect bites you on your finger, you suck it to prevent swelling, right? Well, the same can be said for styes. Heat some saliva using your index finger. After you heat up the saliva in your hand, apply it on the stye.
I did mention that leaves are very effective in treating styes, and guava leaves can reduce pain and swelling in a matter of minutes. Wet some leaves in warm water. After that, apply the leaves in the same way you would apply a warm compress. Let them work their magic for 10 minutes, and then remove the leaves.
Potatoes and cucumber are very effective in treating almost all conditions around the eyes. For example, they are mostly known for their effectiveness in treating dark circles under the eye. But potatoes can work their magic on styes as well. Grind a potato, make a paste, spread it on a soft cloth, and apply the cloth to your stye.
Speaking of cucumber, you can use it to treat styes in as simple way.
Just cut it into slices and place them on your eyelids. The irritation should be gone shortly after.
Back to the leaves category, chard leaf is also effective. Wash the chard leaf thoroughly and heat it in water for five minutes. Strain the fluid and let the leaf cool. At this point, apply the leaf to the infected area. Let the leaf stay there for 60 minutes. Repeat two times per day.
Another leaf remedy is mint leaves. Pulverize the mint leaves and apply them as a poultice on your sore eyes. Let the leaves work their magic for five minutes, and then flush using lukewarm water.
For this remedy, soak two cloves in warm water. Use that water to gently massage the area around your eye for five minutes, and then wash with clean water.
Heat a few spinach leaves in warm water. Use them as a poultice and place on the infected area for 30 minutes. Repeat three times per day, until the stye is gone.
You will need bubbling water and crisp parsley for this remedy. Pour the water over the parsley, and let them blend for 10 minutes. Get a clean washcloth, soak it in the water, and then put it on your eyes for 15 minutes. Repeat two times per day, the second just before going to bed.
All products for babies are extremely gentle and chemical-free. For your stye, you can borrow some baby products—in this case, baby shampoo. Mix tear-free shampoo and warm water together. At this point, get a clean washcloth, dip it in the solution, and wipe your eyelids with it. Be gentle. You can repeat the process every day to clean your stye.
The best way to get rid of a stye is to prevent it from happening to begin with. There are a few ways that you can prevent styes from appearing, and they all involve improving your personal hygiene.
- Let’s start with the basics: always wash your hands before touching your face. Dirty hands are one of the main causes of stye infection. You want to avoid bringing dirt to your oil glands.
- Do not touch your eyes at any time. Let’s put it this way—there are few to no reasons to touch your eyes. The only time you should touch your eyes should be when you are washing your face.
- Use a warm washcloth to wash your eyes and eyelids when the first symptoms of a stye appear. This might prevent the stye from developing into a pimple.
- If you notice the initial symptoms, don’t use makeup around your eyes. Speaking of makeup, be sure to wash off all makeup before going to bed. And never, ever, try to mask a stye with makeup, as that just irritates the eyes more and delays the healing process.
- If you wear contact lenses, clean them regularly. And in the event a stye appears, wear glasses until it has healed.
- Toss old makeup away. Old makeup is the best breeding ground for the bacteria that cause styes. And make sure to wash your brushes regularly. As a safety precaution, discard eyeliners, eye shadows, and mascara that are older than three months.
When to seek medical help
There will be times when all natural remedies fail, and even over-the-counter products don’t help to get rid of a stye. At that point, seek medical help from a doctor. If the stye does not go away in one week, consult with a medical person. Also, see a doctor if the swelling spreads, or if your vision becomes affected.
What can you expect from the doctor? For starters, a doctor will prescribe an antibiotic medicine, especially since the stye is a bacterial problem. The doctor might also lance the stye by inserting a needle into it.
You can contact a doctor at any point during the “how to get rid of stye” process. But most importantly, if you do not have an eye doctor already, seek help from your primary health care doctor first.