Stye Treatment: A Comprehensive Guide

Styes are one of those eye conditions that most people experience at least once in their life. They can be painful, uncomfortable, and downright annoying. But when should you consider taking the step towards stye removal surgery? We delve into all you need to know about styes and when surgical intervention may be necessary.

What Is a Stye?

A stye is a bacterial infection occurring at the base of an eyelash follicle, leading to a localized, red, pimple-like bump on the eyelid. They can be sensitive to touch and often become inflamed and painful. The formation of styes can be attributed to blocked oil glands within the eyelid, which help in creating natural tears.

Types of Styes

Styes can be categorized into two types:

    • External Hordeolum: Forms on the external part of the eye, often due to an infection in the hair follicle.
    • Internal Hordeolum: Forms inside the eyelid and is usually caused by inflammation in the eye’s oil-producing glands.

Symptoms Of Styes

Recognizing a stye early can help in treatment. Common symptoms include:

    • Painful bump on the edge of the eyelid
    • Puss spots at the bump’s center
    • A gritty feeling in the eye
    • Scratching sensation
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Eyelid crust
    • Tearing

Styes Vs. Chalazions

Both styes and chalazions can present as red, painful bumps leading to swollen eyelids, but their causes differ. While styes are bacterial infections, chalazions arise from blocked meibomian glands, causing fluid leakage and triggering inflammation.

Do Styes Go Away On Their Own?

Most untreated styes may resolve spontaneously within a few days. For persistent ones, you can apply a warm washcloth to your eyelid for 10-15 minutes, 3-5 times a day to facilitate drainage. An ophthalmologist may also prescribe antibiotics for the infection.

When to Consider Stye Removal Surgery?

Not all styes require surgical intervention. However, in some cases, surgery becomes inevitable:

    • The stye fails to respond to other treatments
    • Causes intense pain or disrupts vision
    • Develops into a severe infection, like superficial cellulitis
    • Makes eyelids feel heavy
    • There’s a risk of the infection spreading

Stye surgery is often a last resort and only considered when absolutely necessary.

What Happens During Stye Removal Surgery?

During the surgery, anesthetic is applied to numb the eyelid. A clamp is then placed in the stye’s center to hold the eyelids steady. An incision is made over the lesion to remove its contents. Often, the incision is left open to allow any residual material to drain out. Your eyelid might be patched up with ointment post-surgery.

Recovery and Post-Surgery Care

Stye removal surgery boasts a high success rate. Post-surgery, you may experience mild discomfort. Recovery can be expedited by:

    • Applying a compress over the eye
    • Using prescribed medications or eye drops
    • Cleaning eyelids with warm water and soap
    • Avoiding activities that put the eye at risk until fully recovered

Potential Complications

Though stye surgeries are generally safe, some risks include:

    • Infection
    • Recurrence
    • Bleeding
    • Lid scarring


Styes are generally benign and tend to resolve on their own. However, in persistent or severe cases, surgical removal may be recommended. If you’re experiencing symptoms or have concerns about a stye, consult with your eye care professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.