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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury



Stye is the name for a lump or swelling that happens when an infection forms around the base of an eyelash, on the edge of your eyelid.

A stye can look like a tiny, yellow, pus-filled spot.

A stye is different from another common eyelid lump (chalazion), which tends to be larger. A stye isn't painful and is on the inside of the eyelid.

You're more likely to get one if you:

Symptoms of a stye

Treating a stye

Styes usually get better on their own within a week or two. Generally, you will not need any treatment.

If the stye has formed a head, it will burst and the stye will gradually go away. Applying a clean warm compress four times a day for 10 minutes at a time, can help bring the infection to the surface.

Do not try to squeeze or drain the stye yourself. If the stye is large or if it doesn't go away by itself, your general practice team may need to cut it open and drain it.

Preventing styes

Gently cleaning the eyelash edge of your eyelids each night can help prevent getting a stye. Use eye cleansing pads or diluted baby shampoo. You can also put a warm compress on your eye lids for a few minutes each night before bed.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed March 2023.


Page reference: 1078875

Review key: HISTY-107875