Your doctor will usually diagnose a sty just by looking at your eyelid. Your doctor may use a light and a magnifying device to examine your eyelid.
In most cases, a sty doesn't require specific treatment, but using warm compresses can hasten the healing. A sty typically goes away on its own. Recurrences are common.
For a sty that persists, your doctor may recommend treatments, such as:
- Antibiotics. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eyedrops or a topical antibiotic cream to apply to your eyelid. If your eyelid infection persists or spreads beyond your eyelid, your doctor may recommend antibiotics in tablet or pill form.
- Surgery to relieve pressure. If your sty doesn't clear up, your doctor may make a small cut in it to drain the pus.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Until your sty goes away on its own, try to:
- Leave the sty alone. Don't try to pop the sty or squeeze the pus from a sty. Doing so can cause the infection to spread.
- Clean your eyelid. Gently wash the affected eyelid with mild soap and water.
- Place a warm washcloth over your closed eye. To relieve pain, run warm water over a clean washcloth. Wring out the washcloth and place it over your closed eye. Re-wet the washcloth when it loses heat. Continue this for 5 to 10 minutes. Then gently massage the eyelid. Repeating this two to three times a day may encourage the sty to drain on its own.
- Keep your eye clean. Don't wear eye makeup until the sty has healed.
- Go without contacts lenses. Contact lenses can be contaminated with bacteria associated with a sty. If you wear contacts, try to go without them until your sty goes away.
Preparing for your appointment
Start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner if your sty is painful or doesn't start to get better in two days. In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a specialist who treats eye diseases and conditions (ophthalmologist).
Because appointments can be brief, it's a good idea to be prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready.
What you can do
- List any symptoms you're experiencing, including those that seem unrelated to the sty.
- List key personal information you feel may be important for your doctor to know.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
- List questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. For a sty, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is the likely cause of my sty?
- When can I expect my sty to go away?
- Is this contagious?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Are there any treatments for my sty?
- What are the benefits and risks of these treatments?
- What can I do to prevent future sties?
- Can I continue wearing contact lenses?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me?
- What websites do you recommend?
- Do I need a follow-up visit?