Why Do I Get a Stye & How to Prevent a Stye

If you’ve ever had a stye, you know that it’s a miserable experience. Styes are unattractive and are really visible because they’re on your eyelid. A stye is uncomfortable and can be painful. It’s right on your eye which is a very sensitive area. You want the stye to go away as quickly as possible. If you’ve ever had a stye you don’t want to get one again. In this article I share how to prevent styes. I used to get them all the time but with this method, I haven’t had a stye in over four years! 

man s half face photo stye

One of the worst things about a stye is that it can be embarrassing and it can make you want to isolate. If you have a big red bump on your eye you will not want to go on a date or to a job interview. It can really impact your romantic life too because you’ll feel unattractive and uncomfortable. Plus styes hurt! So, you’ll want to get the stye to go away and then to work to try to prevent getting any more styes.

Y’all, I am not a doctor and this post is not medical advice or intended to diagnose a medical condition. This is information about styes is my personal experience with preventing them. So, if you think you have a stye you should seek professional medical help.

What is a Stye

A stye (also called a sty) is an infection in the eyelid that causes a sensitive and sometimes painful red bump near the edge of the lid. There’s localized swelling at the stye. Styes don’t usually cause vision problems other than your vision my be slightly obstructed if your eyelid is swollen. You may be able to see the stye in your field of vision. Most styes heal on their own, although it can take a frustratingly long time. Styes are contagious. Rubbing or touching the stye can spread the bacteria and cause other styes or pass along the germs to others.

What Causes a Stye

Bacteria causes the infection. Styes can occur at the base of an eyelash or within one of the small oil glands in the eyelid.  Styes are like a pimple or zit on your eyelid. They can occur on either the upper or lower eyelid.

How to Treat a Stye

First of all, do not try to pop a stye. When you pop a stye it creates an open sore that can become infected. Plus opening the stye releases the bacteria that caused the stye. This can spread styes to other parts of your eyelid, to your other eye, or to someone else.

Most styes heal on their own in a few days. The stye will form a head like a pimple. The stye will then rupture, drain and heal without any action on your part. Applying warm compresses for 10 to 15 minutes, three or four times a day, over the course of several days can help to speed up the healing process and bring temporary relief to the stye area. Your eye area is more sensitive that other areas of your body, so be sure to use warm compresses and to not get the compress too hot.

To make a warm compress, you can use a clean wash cloth and run it under warm water. I sometimes like to put a damp wash cloth in the microwave for several seconds. It can get really hot so be extra careful taking it out of the microwave. Let it cool so that it’s not too hot for your eye. I then fold the wash cloth in a different direction so that a clean side is face up and reheat the cloth and heat it again. Don’t reuse the cloth later. Use a clean cloth each time.

If the stye doesn’t drain and go away in a few days or if the pain and swelling are excessive, you will want to see a medical professional. They might prescribe antibiotic ointment or other procedures to help heal the stye.

How to Avoid or How to Prevent Styes

If you have ever had a stye you do not want another one! There were a few months several years ago when it seemed like I was having a stye one right after another. It was so frustrating and expensive! The trips to the eye doctor and the prescriptions were expensive. Once the styes cleared up, I wanted to be sure that I didn’t get one  again. Learn what I’ve done to keep from getting a stye for the past several years. At the time of this writing, it’s been five years since I’ve had a stye. (Knock on wood!)

Baby Shampoo

Your doctor may suggest eyelid hygiene practices to keep your eyelids clean and to reduce the amount of bacteria in the area that might cause a stye. They might recommend that you use a mixture of water and Baby Shampoo. You could use a Q-tip cotton swab to gentle clean the area of your eyelid near the eyelashes. Then gently rinse the shampoo away with water.

Some folks find it convenient to wash their eyelids with baby shampoo while they’re in the shower. Just squirt a little baby shampoo in your hand and then use your fingers to mix in a little water. Then use your finger to wash your eyelid with gentle motion. Take care not to get the shampoo in your eyes. Then completely rinse the shampoo away.

Use Selsun Blue

I tried the baby shampoo method and it didn’t work 100% for me. I went back to the eye doctor. He suggested that I use regular Selsun Blue Dandruff Shampoo instead of the baby shampoo. I’ve been washing my eyelids two times a week with Selsun Blue for the past five years. While in the shower, you put just a little shampoo in the palm of your hand. I first wash my eyebrows with Selsun Blue. Then I move to my eyelids. BE CAREFUL NOT TO GET THIS IN YOUR EYE. Selsun Blue has menthol and it will BURN if it gets in your eye. The menthol may sting the sensitive skin around your eye. You don’t have to leave the shampoo on for long. Rinse it off completely. I use Selsun Blue on my eyelids twice a week.

What about Eyelid Scrubs

On the days that I do not use Selsun Blue on my eyelids, I use OcuSoft Eyelid Scrubs to clean my eyes in the morning after my shower. These are very convenient because they’re pre-moistened scrubs. I use the name brand scrubs and haven’t tried the store brands. They recommend that you use one scrub pad per eye so that you don’t cross contaminate your eyes. I use eyelid scrubs morning (when I don’t use Selsun Blue) and night. They’re convenient to take on the road if you’re traveling. The small packages will easily fit in your travel bag.

A video from my experience

Do you have allergies with itchy watery eyes

If your eyes are itchy and watery a lot, you might have allergies. Allergies can make your eyelids red and inflamed. Plus if you have itchy eyes, you’re likely to use your hand to scratch them. This brings bacteria to your eye where it may cause a stye. If you have allergies talk to your doctor. They might recommend an over the counter medication like Claritin or allergy eyedrops. One of the root causes of your styes make be that your eyelids are red and inflamed from allergies.

Consider vitamins and supplements

Fish Oil and another antioxidant vitamins and supplements might be a preventative measure to consider. I take a Fish Oil supplement and a multi-vitamin. Antioxidants help your body fight infection and reduce inflammation.

Wash Your Hands and Don’t Touch Your Face

Washing your hands is a key part of reducing illness and infection. We pick up all kinds of bacteria on our hands throughout the day. Be sure you are washing your hands throughly on a regular basis.  Also, avoid touching your face. You can transfer bacteria from the environment to your face when you touch your face. If you have a stye and are treating it, be sure you wash your hand really well before and after the treatments I mentioned above.

Be well!

I hope these suggestions from personal experience help you avoid getting a stye. If you have one, I feel for you. It does get better! Hang in there!

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