Help and frequently asked questions

What is the treatment for a stye?


Treatment is not usually necessary for a stye, as they often clear up on their own. However, medical guidance is recommended if a stye is particularly painful or persistent. Otherwise known as a hordeolum, a stye is a small abscess that forms on the eyelid.

Styes are filled with pus and do cause discomfort and pain. Nevertheless, they will typically clear up on their own after one to three weeks. This is usually after they burst and release any built-up pus. Do not be tempted to burst your own styes though. There are several treatments that may help with the symptoms in the meantime.

Warm compress: Use a warm compress on the affected eye, such as a cloth or flannel warmed in hot water. The heat from the compress will cause the stye to release pus more quickly, which will speed up the healing process. Be careful not to use water that is too hot, particularly when treating a child. The compress should be applied for between five and 10 minutes and repeated three or four times a day. Keeping the area clean will also prevent unsightly crusting.


In cases where the stye is extremely painful, over-the-counter painkillers can be used. Make sure to always read the manufacturer's instructions for dosage information and age restrictions.

  • Further treatment: Seeking the help of a medical professional or your optometrist may be necessary if the stye fails to clear up or there are other factors. Your local doctor should be able to deal with most problems, although they may refer you to an ophthalmologist if the stye is in an awkward location - such as inside the eyelid.Here are several further treatments an eye specialist or optometrist may provide.
  • Eyelash removal: If an infected eyelash follicle is causing the stye, it may require the eyelash to be removed to promote healing.
  • Medications: A number of other underlying conditions may be causing the stye, such as conjunctivitis or blepharitis. In these cases, medications like antibiotics can be prescribed that treat the overarching condition, which will help the stye to heal and prevent future ones forming.
  • Eye hygiene methods: You may also be shown a variety of eye hygiene methods to keep the area clean.