Common Health Problems  »  Eye Conditions

Signs & Symptoms

  1. Red, painful bump or sore on an eyelid.

  2. Watery or tearing eye that burns and itches.

  3. The red bump may form a head and appears yellow if it contains pus. This usually drains on its own within days.


Sties form from clogged oil glands at the base of an eyelash.


Most sties respond well to self-care and don’t need further treatment.


To treat a stye, apply a moist, warm compress to the area as many times a day as possible until the stye diminishes or until it comes to a head and drains itself. Care for a stye, which is a clogged duct on the eyelid, with expertise from a registered nurse.

Self-Care / Prevention

  1. Wash your hands often.

  2. Don’t touch your eyes with your fingers. Use a tissue instead.

  3. Use clean washcloths and towels each time you wash your face.

  4. Don’t share washcloths, towels, makeup, or eye drops with others.

  5. Don’t expose your eyes to excessive dust or dirt.

To Relieve the Discomfort of a Stye

  1. Apply warm (not hot), wet compresses to the affected area 3 to 4 times a day for 5 to 10 minutes at a time. Use a clean washcloth each time.

  2. Don’t poke or squeeze the stye. A more serious infection could occur.

  3. If the stye drains on its own, gently wash the pus away with a clean, wet cloth.

With a stye, do you have any of these problems?

  1. Redness and swelling haven’t drained within 1 or 2 days.

  2. A stye makes it hard for you to see.

  3. Many sties come at the same time.

  4. You get one stye right after another.

Questions to Ask