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Understanding Styes -- Treatment

What Are the Treatments for Styes?

While painful and unsightly, most styes heal within a few days on their own or with simple treatment. Chalazia, too, often disappear on their own, but it might take a month or more.

Typical treatment for a sty consists of applying very warm compresses to the affected eye for 10 to 15 minutes twice to four times daily for several days. This not only relieves pain and inflammation, but also helps the stye resolve faster. Be sure to close your eye while using the compresses. When the stye comes to a head, continue applying warm compresses to relieve pressure and promote rupture. Do not squeeze the stye -- let it burst on its own. Occasionally, styes associated with spreading skin infection may require oral antibiotics.

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If styes recur, your doctor may prescribe a local antibiotic ointment or an oral antibiotic. Take the antibiotic as directed.

Minor surgery may be needed to completely drain a stye. After applying a local anesthetic, your ophthalmologist opens the stye and removes the contents. The eyelid usually heals quickly.

Although a chalazion will sometimes disappear on its own, applying warm compresses may accelerate the healing process. Certain patients may benefit from a direct injection of anti-inflammatory medication to the area. A chalazion can also be removed through simple surgery under a local anesthetic. Your surgeon will usually apply an eyelid bandage for up to 24 hours afterwards.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky, MD on March 13, 2015

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