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Eye Health Center

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Understanding Styes -- Prevention

How Can I Prevent Styes?

If you tend to have a recurrence of styes, you may need to practice better eyelid hygiene. That means regular lid scrubs to remove excess germs and dead skin cells, which bacteria feed on. Put a few drops of mild baby shampoo into a teacup of warm water and stir. Using a cotton swab or wash cloth, 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 washcloth with baby shampoo in the shower. This shouldn't take more than 30 seconds per eye.

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 expired or contaminated cosmetics, dirty towels, or contaminated hands.

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Pinpoint tenderness involving a few eyelashes can be an early warning sign of a stye. Frequent application of warm compresses at the first sign of an infection will speed resolution and prevent further blockage of the lid glands.

Recurrent styes may be associated with a chronic condition called blepharitis as well as acne rosacea. Your doctor or consulting dermatologist will be able to confirm the presence of rosacea and initiate effective medical therapy.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky, MD on March 13, 2015

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