Do people often look for answers to a common question, which is how to get rid of a stye? Most people experience one or two episodes of stye at some stage in their life. A stye is a boil or tender bump occurring in our eye. It is relatively common and occurs in any individual irrespective of their age and sex. It is non-contagious and disappears on its own. A stye can irritate your eyes and can turn painful. Apart from conventional treatment, which involves antibiotics and steroids, there are many home remedies for eye stye treatment. Following specific natural measures will not only help in soothing your eyes but also in getting rid of eye stye at the earliest.

What is an eye stye?

A stye is a small lump on the inside or outside of the eyelid. A stye is usually an abscess filled with pus. The primary causative organism for the stye is staphylococcus bacteria.

You can usually notice styes on the outer surface, but they can also appear deeper inside the eyelid. Stye often occurs when a gland in or on the eyelid becomes clogged or blocked.

What causes eye stye?

Stye can occur in two scenarios. Firstly, when scar tissue or a foreign substance obstruct the gland’s opening and secondly, when the content produced by the gland starts to thicken obliterating its opening.

Meibomian glands also called tarsal glands are a group of exocrine glands, that rim the eyelids. These glands are responsible for the supply of meibum, an oily substance which prevents the evaporation of the eye’s tear film. This tear film protects the eye from foreign particles and prevents drying of the eye.

The most common risk factor for a stye is the sluggish outflow of the meibum from these meibomian glands which occurs in meibomian gland dysfunction. Meibomian gland dysfunction is a chronic inflammatory condition of the glands and can lead to one or more stye.

A hordeolum is a blockage of the sweat glands found in the eyelid and at the base of the eyelashes (1). Stye is a hordeolum, and they are sometimes confused with chalazion. A chalazion is also caused due to dysfunction of meibomian gland but is of a non-infectious variant.

What are eye stye symptoms?

  • A red lump occurs inside or on your eyelid that has a pus-filled centre.
  • Swelling and puffiness with constant itchy sensation accompany this condition.
  • Crusting can occur along the eyelid.
  • Watering of the eye occurs.

Who are at risk for developing eye stye?

  • Using old or contaminated cosmetics can irritate the glands in the eye and produce infection. People who share eye brushes and cosmetics can also contract this infection (2).
  • Not removing eye makeup especially before sleeping will cause irritants to remain in contact with the eye for a more extended period. Improper maintenance of contact lens hygiene will also cause infection.
  • Having a skin condition acne rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis increases the risk of the bacteria entering the eye and producing infection.
  • People who are immunocompromised like diabetic individuals are at a higher risk.

How to get rid of a stye?

Conventional treatments

Antibiotics are the drug of choice if a stye persists or spreads along the eyelid. Antibiotic drops and ointments are available for topical application. A doctor can also prescribe steroids which can help to reduce inflammation associated with the stye.

Infections from stye if left unattended can cause a more severe condition called cellulitis. Cellulitis requires surgical intervention; oculoplastic surgeons perform this procedure.

Home remedies for stye

1. Coriander seeds

Coriander seeds have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and are one of the best home remedies for stye. (3)The coriander seed contains active ingredients linalool which acts on the pus-producing bacteria and reduces the size of the stye.

Coriander seeds also help reduce the swelling and oedema associated with the stye. Crush a handful of coriander seeds and boil in 4 cups of water, strain away the remnants. Wash the affected eye several times a day with this water till visible changes in the stye is seen.

2. Guava leaves

Guava not only heals the stye but also provides relief from pain and swelling. Guava leaves possess unique anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties owing to their active ingredients ellagic acid, triterpenoids and quercetin (4). These components reduce the itching, irritation and pain symptoms.

Boil the guava leaves for 10 minutes in 4 cups of water and let it come down to room temperature. Dip a cotton cloth or cotton pad in this water and place it on the eye stye for about 15 minutes. Repeat this procedure thrice daily till the symptoms are alleviated.

3. Tea bags

Tea contains flavonoids which helps combat the bacterial and viral infection. The active ingredient tannins found in black and green tea have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Keep a moistened tea bags on the affected eye for about 10 minutes. You will get instant symptomatic relief from swelling, itchiness and redness.

4. Garlic

Garlic juice can very well cure an eye stye infection, thanks to its antibacterial properties. The active ingredient, allicin, will not only give relief from the pain but also reduce the size of the stye.

Use fresh garlic cloves to obtain garlic juice. Apply it to stye using a Q-tip. Try and avoid the liquid from entering the eye as it can irritate. Wash it with lukewarm water after it is dry.

5. Warm compress

The warm compress is one of the most popular home remedies for stye. It will soften the eye stye and will help it to drain by itself. Soak a cotton cloth or a cotton pad in hot water and wring out the excess water. Once the temperature is bearable, place the fabric or the padding on the affected eye till it cools down on its own.

Do not try to squeeze out the pus since the stye will gradually soften and exudate the discharge.

6. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera gel is a readily available ingredient for treating eye infections. Aloe Vera gel has active ingredients like aloin and emodin that has strong antibacterial action. Fresh aloe vera gel works best for soothing the inflammation associated with stye; it also speeds up the healing process.

You can apply the aloe vera gel on your eyelids and around eyes, primarily covering the stye and leave it for 15-20 minutes before washing it with water. The gel is best applied cold.

7. Cucumber/Potato

It is well-known fact that cucumber and potato can provide soothing relief to the irritated eye. They do not have any activity on the infection producing bacteria, but they will help alleviate the symptoms of the stye.

Keep chilled potato or cucumber slices on the affected eye and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Repeat this method when the eyes begin to itch or irritate due to the offending stye.

8. Goldenseal

Goldenseal goes by many names the orange root, the yellow puccoon and is a very effective natural antibiotic. Owing to its widespread use in treating eye infections it is also known as eye root or eye balm.

It has potent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties from its active ingredient berberine (5). Apply a few drops of goldenseal extract on the stye and is leave it to dry. Repeat this procedure till the infection subsides.

9. Boric acid eyewash

Boric acid has potent antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. The hydrogen borate crystals readily dissolve in water. Take the solution in a dropper and dispense in the eye one drop at a time.

The antiseptic element of boric acid will cause denaturation of the infection producing bacteria and will gradually reduce the size of the stye.

Final words on how to get rid of a stye

An eye stye is a bacterial infection that remission on its own in under a weeks’ time. You should be careful that you do not rub or irritate your eyes further. Above mentioned home remedies for stye can help in alleviating the stye symptoms.

To prevent its recurrence, maintain proper sanitation and do not share personal hygiene products. Also avoid sharing cosmetics such as eye brushes, makeup kit, etc. and discard the old ones.