If you have a stye, try not to worry. They are usually not serious and go away by themselves in a few weeks.
However, it’s possible for a stye to develop into a chalazion. This is a hard lump which isn’t painful but can last for a few months or even years.
There are several things you can do to either speed up the healing process or relieve the pain of a stye. These include warm compresses, eyelid scrubs, eye massages and taking painkillers. If you have a stye which lasts for a long time or if you keep getting styes, you should talk to your doctor. They can give you antibiotics or steroids.
The main remedy for a stye is to keep it clean. Use warm water and a gentle eye cleanser. Also, holding a clean warm compress against it for 5 to 10 minutes and massaging it once or twice a day can help relieve any pain.
You can also use a lid scrub, which is an eye cleanser designed to treat eyelid hygiene specifically. You apply it while gently massaging the area, to remove dirt and obstructions from the edge of your eyelid. This can help with drainage, so it encourages the pus in the stye to drain away more quickly.
If your stye doesn’t go away by itself in a few weeks, you may need to see a doctor. They can use a sterilised needle to make a small cut in the inside or outside of the eyelid, to burst the stye and drain the pus or blocked oil away. Don’t worry – if this is the case you’ll have a local anaesthetic.
As mentioned, if you have a stye which is causing you pain, over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen can help.
Apart from painkillers, there aren’t any stye medicines or stye cures. Antibiotics aren’t very effective for styes, so it is unlikely your doctor will prescribe them. However, if you keep getting styes or have a stye that lasts a very long time, you might be given some antibiotic pills or an antibiotic ointment.
If you have a stye triggered by a skin condition like rosacea, your doctor may give you medicine to treat that condition, like a skin cream or antibiotic pills. This will help prevent it from causing more styes in the future.