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What is a Stye?

Illustration of eye with stye

A stye can be an irritating place that forms on the eyelid.

In some cases, it is a pimple or abscess that forms on the eyelid at the lash line. In other cases, it may actually form under the eyelid.


A stye is most often caused by staphylococcal bacteria that has interspersed with dead skin cells. This debris is trapped with the bacteria and causes an infection. While a stye generally does not result in any vision issues, it can be irritating and embarrassing for those who have it as it is generally very predominant on the eyelid.

In some cases, if the stye is on the underside of the eyelid, it will not drain and heal on its own. In this case, a doctor will need to intervene to result in healing.


If you have a style, it is important not to force drainage. This needs to happen naturally. You can apply warm, wet compresses multiple times per day to encourage drainage. This will also generally provide relief if the area is irritated as well.


From the time it appears until it heals is generally about a week. During that time, do not wear any eye makeup and avoid rubbing your eyes. Treatment by a physician is generally not needed and the issue will resolve on its own given enough time.


To avoid styes in the future, avoid touching your eyes and, if you must touch your eyes, make sure your hands are clean. Wash make-up brushes often and replace mascara and other eye make-up as recommended by the manufacturer.

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Eye Exams Are More Than Just Vision Tests

Pink Eye: Surprising Causes, Simple Cures

The Real Dirt on Eye Makeup

I Slept in My Contacts. Now What?

Are Eye Creams Safe?

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