Close up image of eye with a stye.
Illustration of a stye.

A stye is an infection in a tiny gland of the eyelid.

Signs & Symptoms

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•  Red, painful bump or sore on an eyelid.

•  Watery or tearing eye that burns and itches.

•  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.

Eye Irritations & Injuries


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

Questions to Ask

Self-Care / Prevention

•  Wash your hands often.

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

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

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

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

To Relieve the Discomfort of a Stye

•  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.

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

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

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


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