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Are Styes Contagious?

Updated: Jul 3

Are Styes Contagious? - Close up of a child's eye stye.

Styes are small bumps that can show up on your eyelid and cause a lot of discomfort and worry. A lot of people want to know if styes are contagious and how to prevent or treat them. In this article, we will cover all the details about styes, what causes styes, the signs and symptoms to look for, how to avoid getting them, and how to treat them. We're also going to answer the big question: Are styes contagious?

What is a Stye?

A stye, also known as a hordeolum, is a small, red, and painful bump that forms near the edge of the eyelid. These bumps are caused by a bacterial infection, most often from a type of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. Styes are filled with pus, which can cause pain and discomfort. They are usually red and can sometimes be tender to the touch.

How Common are Styes?

Styes are pretty common and can affect people of all ages. They are more common in people who have certain risk factors, like chronic eyelid inflammation (blepharitis), diabetes, or weak immune systems. So if you're at risk for these conditions, you might be more likely to get styes. If you have any of these risk factors, it's important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of styes and to take steps to prevent them.

Types of Styes

Styes come in different types, each with its own set of characteristics and things to consider. Here are the two main types of styes:

1. External Styes

  • Location: External styes, or external hordeola, are usually found on the outer edge of the eyelid. You can see them near the base of an eyelash, which is on the outside of the eyelid. This makes them easy to spot.

  • Appearance: Recognizing an external stye is relatively easy. It appears as a red, swollen bump on the outside of the eyelid near the base of an eyelash. It is often painful and tender. In some cases, a white or yellow point may be seen in the center of the bump, which is a sign of pus.

2. Internal Styes

  • Location: Internal styes are different from external styes in that they form on the inside of the eyelid. This means that they can't be seen from the outside. But even though they're not visible, they can still be really uncomfortable and bothersome.

  • Appearance: Internal styes are harder to see because they form on the inside of the eyelid. They don’t look like a visible bump on the outside of the eyelid. Instead, you may experience pain, swelling, and redness on the inner side of the eyelid.

What Causes a Stye?

A stye, or hordeolum, is caused by a bacterial infection. The most common bacteria that causes styes is called Staphylococcus aureus. Understanding what causes styes can help you prevent and manage them. Here are some common triggers for styes:

Bacterial Infection

  • Staphylococcus aureus: This type of bacteria lives on the skin and in the nose. It can sometimes get into the oil glands at the base of the eyelashes or the meibomian glands inside the eyelids. When this happens, it can cause a stye to form.

Blockage of Oil Glands

  • Sebum Accumulation: The oil glands in the eyelids make a substance called sebum. Sebum is what makes the eyes feel lubricated. If the glands become blocked, it creates a place where bacteria can grow. This blockage can be caused by too much sebum being produced or other factors.

Poor Eyelid Hygiene

  • Inadequate Cleansing: Not cleaning your eyes properly can make it more likely that you will get a stye. This includes things like not removing eye makeup before you go to bed or using cosmetics that have bacteria on them. When bacteria builds up, it increases your chances of getting a stye.

Shared Personal Items

  • Transmission of Bacteria: If you share towels, pillowcases, or eye makeup with someone who has a stye, the bacteria that cause styes can spread to you. This can lead to you getting a stye.

Pre-existing Skin Conditions

  • Rosacea: If you have skin conditions like rosacea, you might be more likely to get a stye. These conditions can cause inflammation in the skin and eyelids, which can make it easier for bacteria to grow and cause a stye. If you have a skin condition, it’s important to keep your skin clean and talk to your doctor if you have any symptoms of a stye.

Compromised Immune System

  • Weakened Defenses: A weak immune system can make you more likely to get a stye. This can happen if you have a medical condition that weakens your immune system, or if you are taking certain medications that do the same thing. If you have a weak immune system, you should be extra careful about keeping your eyes and skin clean to prevent styes.

What are the Symptoms of a Stye?

If you have a stye, there are some symptoms you might notice. These symptoms can be uncomfortable and worrying, so it’s important to know what to look for. Here are some of the most common symptoms of a stye:

Red, Swollen Bump

The most common symptom of a stye is a red, swollen bump on the edge of the eyelid. This bump can develop at the base of an eyelash or inside the eyelid. It can look like a pimple or a boil and can be quite painful. Whether you have an external stye or an internal stye, the bump will be red and swollen.

Pain or Tenderness

The area around the stye is typically painful and tender. The pain can range from mild to severe, depending on how big the stye is and where it is located. Touching or rubbing the affected area can make the pain worse.

Watery Eyes

Watery eyes are a common symptom of a stye. The stye can irritate the eye and cause it to produce more tears. This can make your eye feel watery all the time. If you have a stye and your eye is producing more tears, it’s important to keep the area around the stye clean to prevent any further irritation.

Crusting Around the Eyelid

A stye can cause a crust to form around your eyelid, especially after you sleep. This crust is formed by the discharge from the stye, which can dry and harden on your eyelid. It's important to gently clean your eyelid with warm water to remove the crust and keep your eye clean.

Sensitivity to Light

If you have a stye, you might notice that your eye is sensitive to light. Bright light can cause discomfort and make your eye feel more irritated. To alleviate this sensitivity, you can wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the light. This will help your eye feel more comfortable and prevent further irritation.

Gritty Sensation

If you have a stye, you might feel like there’s something in your eye, like a piece of sand or debris. This can cause a gritty or scratchy feeling that can be quite annoying. The sensation might be constant and not go away even if you blink or close your eyes.

Pus Discharge

As a stye gets worse, it can fill up with pus. This can create a visible white or yellow spot at the center of the bump. Sometimes, the stye can burst on its own, releasing the pus. This can give some relief from the pressure and pain, but it's important to keep the area clean to prevent further infection.

Swollen Eyelid

When you have a stye, not only do you get a bump on your eyelid, but the whole eyelid can become swollen. This is because your body is trying to fight the infection and the swelling is part of this process. In some cases, the swelling can be so bad that it makes it hard to open your eye.

General Eye Discomfort

Having a stye can make your eye feel uncomfortable in general. The eye might feel sore and irritated and blinking can make the feeling worse. It might just feel like there’s something wrong with your eye even if you can’t see the stye.

Blurry Vision

In some cases, a really big stye can push against your eye and make your vision blurry. This symptom is usually temporary and goes away once the stye heals. But if you notice that your vision is blurry, it’s important to talk to your doctor.

Are Styes Contagious?

While the bacteria that cause styes can be spread from person to person, the stye itself is not contagious. You can’t get a stye from touching or being close to someone who has one. Styes are usually caused by a type of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus, which can be found on the skin and in the nose. The main way styes are spread is when a person touches their own face without washing their hands or uses contaminated cosmetics or personal items. This allows the bacteria to transfer from their skin or nose to their eye.

How is a Stye Diagnosed?

Diagnosing a stye is pretty simple and can be done in just a few steps by a healthcare provider. Here’s what usually happens:

1. Medical History

The first step in diagnosing a stye is to get a medical history. The healthcare provider will ask you questions about your symptoms and when they started. They may also ask you about your hygiene practices and any history of similar problems. This can help them determine if you have a stye and what may have caused it.

2. Physical Examination

During the physical examination, the healthcare provider will look closely at the affected eyelid. They will check for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, and a bump on the eyelid. They will use a special tool called a slit lamp to get a good look at the eyelid and the stye.

3. External Examination

For external styes, the doctor will examine the outer edge of the eyelid, where the hair follicles and oil glands are located. They will check for signs of inflammation and look for any pus-filled bumps that resemble pimples or boils. If they find a stye, they will be able to tell if it is an external stye by the location and appearance of the bump.

4. Internal Examination

For internal styes, the doctor might need to gently turn the eyelid inside out to examine the inner surface. Internal styes form in the oil-producing glands (meibomian glands) inside the eyelid and can be harder to see without a careful examination. If the doctor suspects an internal stye, they will look inside the eyelid to check for any signs of inflammation or pus-filled bumps.

5. Differentiating from Other Eye Conditions

It’s important to rule out other eye conditions that may present with similar symptoms to a stye. The healthcare provider will check for other potential issues to make sure it’s not something else. Some of the other conditions they might rule out include:

  • Chalazion: A chalazion is a type of cyst that forms in the oil glands of the eyelid. Unlike a stye, a chalazion is usually painless and can last longer. It might look similar to a stye, but the difference is that it’s not caused by an infection.

  • Blepharitis: Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid margins that can cause redness, swelling, and crusting. Blepharitis can increase the risk of developing styes, but it’s a separate condition. It’s important to know the difference between blepharitis and a stye so the doctor can provide the right treatment.

  • Conjunctivitis: Also known as pink eye, conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelids. It can cause redness, swelling, and discharge, but it affects the eye more broadly than a stye.

6. Additional Tests

In most cases, no additional tests are needed to diagnose a stye. But if the stye is particularly severe, keeps coming back, or doesn’t respond to treatment, the doctor might do some more tests to make sure it’s not something else. These tests might include:

  • Culturing the Discharge: If there is a discharge from the stye, the doctor might take a sample and send it to a lab to see what type of bacteria is causing the infection. This can help guide more specific treatment. If the doctor knows what type of bacteria is causing the infection, they can choose the right medicine to treat it.

  • Blood Tests: If the patient has other medical conditions, such as diabetes, that may contribute to recurrent styes, blood tests may be performed to assess overall health and blood sugar levels. These tests can help the doctor find out if there are other conditions that may be causing the styes, so that they can be treated.

Treatment for Styes

Styes are painful and annoying, but they usually go away on their own within a week or two. However, there are some treatments that can help reduce symptoms, speed up the healing process, and prevent any complications. Here are some of the best treatments for styes:

1. Warm Compresses

Applying a warm compress is one of the most effective treatments for a stye. The heat helps to increase blood circulation to the area, which can help the stye heal faster and encourage it to drain. The warm compress can help reduce the pain and swelling associated with the stye.

  • How to Apply: Soak a clean washcloth in warm water, wring out the excess water, and place it over the affected eye for 10-15 minutes. Repeat this process three to four times a day.

2. Eyelid Hygiene

Keeping your eyelids clean can help prevent the stye from getting worse and can help it heal faster.

  • Cleaning the Eyelid: Gently clean your eyelids with a mild, hypoallergenic cleanser or a baby shampoo mixed with water. Use a clean cotton swab or a washcloth to remove any crust or discharge from the stye.

3. Over-the-Counter Treatments

Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments can help reduce pain and inflammation.

  • Antibiotic Ointments: Over-the-counter antibiotic ointments, such as those containing bacitracin or erythromycin, can be applied to the affected eyelid to help reduce bacterial infection. Read the instructions on the packaging or talk to a pharmacist to find out how to use the ointment properly. These ointments can help speed up the healing process and prevent further infection.

  • Pain Relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help alleviate pain and reduce swelling. These pain relievers can be found in many drug stores and pharmacies. Read the instructions carefully to find out how much you should take and how often you should take it.

4. Avoiding Makeup and Contact Lenses

While you have a stye, it's important to avoid using eye makeup and contact lenses to prevent further irritation and potential spread of the infection. Makeup can irritate the eye and spread the infection to other parts of the eye. Contact lenses can also irritate the eye and increase the risk of the infection spreading. Avoiding these products can help the stye heal more quickly.

5. Prescription Medications

If the stye is severe, doesn't go away on its own, or isn't responding to home treatments, a doctor may prescribe stronger medications.

  • Antibiotic Eye Drops or Ointments: Prescription antibiotic eye drops or ointments can be more effective in treating the infection than over-the-counter treatments. Your healthcare provider may prescribe these to help clear the infection and speed up the healing process. Make sure you follow the instructions on how to use the eye drops or ointment and let your healthcare provider know if you have any questions or concerns.

  • Oral Antibiotics: In some cases, particularly if the infection has spread or if you have multiple styes, your healthcare provider may prescribe oral antibiotics to treat the infection. These are taken by mouth and may require several days to complete the course of treatment. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and complete the full course of treatment to ensure that the infection is fully treated.

6. Minor Surgical Procedures

For large or persistent styes, a minor surgical procedure may be required to drain the styes and relieve symptoms.

  • Incision and Drainage: A healthcare provider can perform a minor surgical procedure to make a small incision in the stye and drain the pus. This procedure is usually quick and done under local anesthesia, so you won't feel any pain during the procedure. The healthcare provider will use a sterile needle or scalpel to make a small incision in the stye, and then gently squeeze or drain the pus out of the stye. This can help relieve the symptoms and speed up healing.

  • Steroid Injections: In some cases, a steroid injection may be administered to reduce inflammation and swelling. A steroid is a type of medicine that helps to reduce inflammation. This can help to speed up healing and reduce the pain and discomfort associated with the stye. The injection is usually given directly into the stye and can be done under local anesthesia to prevent pain.

Home Remedy for Stye

Home remedies can be effective in managing the discomfort of a stye and helping it heal faster. While these remedies are generally safe, it's important to follow good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of infection. Here are some tried-and-true home remedies for treating a stye:

1. Warm Compresses

Applying a warm compress is one of the most effective home remedies for a stye. The warmth helps to increase blood flow to the area, which can help with healing and encourage the stye to drain on its own.

  • How to Use: Soak a clean washcloth in warm water, wring out the excess water, and place it over the affected eye for 10-15 minutes. Repeat this process three to four times a day. Ensure the compress is not too hot to avoid burning the sensitive skin around the eye.

2. Tea Bags

Using a warm tea bag as a compress can provide additional relief for a stye. Black tea has antibacterial properties that can help fight infection, and the warmth can help reduce swelling.

  • How to Use: Steep a black tea bag in boiling water for a few minutes, then let it cool until it is warm but not hot. Place the tea bag over the affected eye for 10-15 minutes. Repeat this remedy several times a day using a fresh tea bag each time.

3. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera gel has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help soothe the affected area and promote healing for a stye.

  • How to Use: Apply a small amount of pure aloe vera gel to the stye. Leave it on for about 20 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water. Repeat two to three times a day. Ensure the aloe vera gel is pure and free from additives.

4. Coriander Seeds

Coriander seeds have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and fight infection for a stye.

  • How to Use: Boil one teaspoon of coriander seeds in a cup of water. Strain the seeds and let the water cool. Use this water to wash the affected eye two to three times a day.

5. Turmeric

Turmeric has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and fight infection for a stye.

  • How to Use: Mix a teaspoon of turmeric powder in a cup of water and boil it. Let it cool and use the liquid to wash the affected eye. Alternatively, you can make a paste with turmeric and water and apply it to the stye, leaving it on for 15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. Do this two to three times a day.

6. Baby Shampoo

Using a mild, hypoallergenic baby shampoo can help keep the eyelid clean and reduce irritation for a stye.

  • How to Use: Mix a few drops of baby shampoo with warm water. Dip a cotton swab or clean washcloth in the solution and gently clean the eyelid, especially around the stye. Rinse with warm water and pat dry. Repeat this once or twice a day.

How to Prevent a Stye

To prevent styes, it is important to maintain good hygiene and take steps to reduce the risk of infection. Here are some tips to help you prevent the development of styes:

1. Practice Good Hand Hygiene

Keeping your hands clean is crucial to preventing the spread of bacteria to your eyes.

  • Wash Your Hands Regularly: Use soap and water to wash your hands thoroughly, especially before touching your face or eyes. This will help prevent the spread of bacteria to your eyes.

  • Use Hand Sanitizer: If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Rub the hand sanitizer into your hands until they feel dry. This will help reduce the amount of germs on your hands and lower your risk of getting a stye.

2. Maintain Eyelid Cleanliness

Regularly cleaning your eyelids can help remove excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria that can lead to styes. Here's how to maintain eyelid cleanliness:

  • Daily Cleaning: Use a gentle, hypoallergenic cleanser or baby shampoo diluted with water to clean your eyelids. Dip a clean cotton swab or washcloth in the solution and gently scrub your eyelids, especially along the lash line. This will help remove any dirt or makeup that can clog your pores and cause a stye.

  • Eyelid Scrubs: Consider using over-the-counter eyelid scrubs that are specifically designed to clean the eyelid margins. These eyelid scrubs are made with ingredients that can help remove bacteria and debris from the eyelid area. They can be used as part of your daily cleaning routine to help prevent the development of styes.

3. Avoid Touching Your Eyes

Touching your eyes with unclean hands can introduce bacteria that may cause styes.

  • Resist Rubbing Your Eyes: Avoid rubbing or touching your eyes, especially if your hands are not clean. This can help prevent the spread of bacteria and dirt that can cause styes. If you feel an urge to rub your eyes, try to resist the temptation or use a clean tissue to wipe away any irritation.

  • Use Clean Towels and Washcloths: Always use clean towels and washcloths for your face, and avoid sharing them with others. This will help prevent the spread of bacteria that can cause styes. If you use the same towel or washcloth more than once, be sure to wash it in hot water with a bleach-free detergent and allow it to air dry before using it again.

4. Proper Makeup Hygiene

Using old or contaminated makeup can introduce bacteria to your eyelids, which can increase your risk of getting a stye. Here are some tips for proper makeup hygiene:

  • Replace Makeup Regularly: Throw out eye makeup products, such as mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadow, after three months of use to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination. Over time, these products can collect bacteria from your eyes and face, which can increase your risk of getting a stye. So, be sure to replace your eye makeup regularly to stay safe and healthy.

  • Avoid Sharing Makeup: Never share eye makeup with others, as this can spread bacteria. This includes makeup brushes, eye shadow, mascara, and eyeliner. Sharing makeup can transfer bacteria from one person to another, increasing the risk of styes and other infections. So, it's best to keep your makeup to yourself.

  • Remove Makeup Before Bed: Always remove eye makeup thoroughly before going to bed to prevent clogging of the oil glands. Leaving makeup on overnight can block the pores and lead to the development of styes. Use a gentle, oil-free makeup remover to remove all traces of eye makeup before you go to bed.

5. Care for Contact Lenses

Improper handling of contact lenses can introduce bacteria to your eyes and increase your risk of getting a stye. Here are some tips for caring for your contact lenses:

  • Follow Cleaning Protocols: Clean and disinfect your contact lenses as recommended by your eye care provider. This will help prevent the spread of bacteria and reduce the risk of developing a stye. Use a contact lens solution approved by your eye care provider to clean and disinfect your lenses. Rinse them thoroughly before wearing them and never reuse the cleaning solution.

  • Wash Hands Before Handling Lenses: Always wash your hands with soap and water before inserting or removing contact lenses. This helps to prevent the transfer of bacteria from your hands to your eyes, which can lead to styes. Make sure to dry your hands completely with a clean towel before handling your contact lenses.

  • Replace Lenses as Directed: Adhere to the recommended schedule for replacing your contact lenses. This will help ensure that your lenses are not worn for too long, which can increase the risk of bacterial growth. If you notice any signs of discomfort or irritation, such as redness or itchiness, remove the lenses and consult your eye care provider.

6. Manage Chronic Eyelid Conditions

Conditions such as blepharitis and rosacea can increase the risk of styes. If you have these conditions, it's important to manage them to help prevent styes. Here are some tips for managing these conditions:

  • Follow Treatment Plans: Adhere to the treatment plan prescribed by your healthcare provider for any chronic eyelid conditions. This means following the directions for any eye drops or creams that have been prescribed to treat your condition. It also means making lifestyle changes, like avoiding irritants or wearing protective goggles if necessary, to reduce the risk of styes.

  • Regular Check-Ups: Schedule regular check-ups with your eye care provider to monitor and manage these conditions effectively. By regularly checking in with your eye care provider, you can get the help you need to keep your eyelids healthy and prevent styes. This might involve eye exams, treatment adjustments, or lifestyle advice.

7. Avoid Exposure to Irritants

Environmental irritants, such as dust, smoke, and wind, can contribute to the development of styes.

  • Protect Your Eyes: Wear protective eyewear, like goggles or safety glasses, in dusty or windy environments. This can help keep your eyes safe from irritants that can cause styes. If you're working in a dusty or windy environment, make sure to wear protective eyewear to keep your eyes safe.

  • Minimize Exposure: Reduce exposure to smoke, pollution, and other irritants that can affect your eyes. This will help to prevent styes and other eye problems.

8. Strengthen Your Immune System

A strong immune system can help your body fight off infections that can lead to styes. Here are some ways to boost your immune system:

  • Healthy Diet: Eat a balanced diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. This can help give your body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and fight off infections. Try to avoid processed foods and sugary drinks, and choose healthy snacks like nuts, fruits, and veggies.

  • Regular Exercise: Get moving! Exercise can help boost your immune system by increasing the circulation of white blood cells, which help fight off infections. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, like walking, jogging, or playing a sport. Regular exercise can help keep your body healthy and strong, reducing your risk of getting a stye.

  • Adequate Sleep: Make sure you're getting enough sleep each night. Getting a good night's sleep can help your body's immune system function at its best. Try to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night. This will help keep your body healthy and help fight off infections that can lead to styes.

  • Stress Management: Try to manage your stress levels. Stress can weaken your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infections. Try practicing stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises to help keep your stress levels under control. These techniques can help you relax and reduce the amount of stress you feel, helping to keep your body healthy and strong.

9. Be Cautious with Eye Products

Using eye drops or other eye products can sometimes introduce bacteria to your eyes, increasing the risk of developing a stye. Here are some tips to help prevent this:

  • Use Sterile Products: Choose eye drops that are sterile and haven't expired. Sterile products are ones that have been treated to kill germs and bacteria. When buying eye drops, look for products that are sealed and labeled as "sterile." Also, check the expiration date before using the product, and throw it away if it's past the expiration date.

  • Follow Instructions: Use eye products as directed and be careful not to touch the dropper tip to any surface, including your eye. When using eye drops, make sure to follow the instructions on the package. Avoid touching the dropper tip to your eye or any other surface, as this can contaminate the product and increase your risk of getting a stye.

How Long Does a Stye Last?

The duration of a stye, or hordeolum, can vary from person to person and depends on several factors, including the severity of the stye and how it is managed. Here's what you can expect:

1. Early Stage: Onset and Redness

Duration: 1-2 Days

  • In the early stages, a stye may start out as a small, red bump near the eyelid. This phase is marked by mild pain, sensitivity, and the beginning of redness. The initial symptoms may last for one or two days, indicating the start of the stye's development. This stage is often the most uncomfortable, as the body begins to respond to the infection or inflammation.

2. Inflammation and Swelling

Duration: 3-5 Days

  • As the stye progresses, the area around the stye becomes more swollen and tender. The bump may increase in size and appear more red. This phase typically lasts for 3 to 5 days, during which the stye reaches its peak in terms of discomfort and appearance.

3. Pus Formation and Drainage

Duration: 5-7 Days

  • After about 5-7 days, the stye may reach a point where it begins to form pus. This can cause increased tenderness and pain, but it is actually a sign that the stye is getting ready to drain. The body will naturally drain the stye, which will relieve pressure and help the healing process begin. While this phase can be painful, it is a sign that the stye is progressing and will eventually heal.

4. Healing and Resolution

Duration: 1-2 Weeks

  • Once the stye has drained, the healing process begins. The redness and swelling gradually go down and any discomfort should start to decrease. This phase typically lasts for 1-2 weeks, during which the stye will resolve and the affected eyelid will return to normal. The length of time it takes for a stye to heal will vary from person to person, but this phase marks the final stage of the stye's progression and the end of the healing process.

When to See a Doctor

While many styes can be managed at home with self-care, there are times when you should consult a doctor. Here are some situations in which you should consider consulting a doctor:

  • Persistent Symptoms: If you have been managing your stye with self-care for two weeks or more and it still hasn't improved, it's important to see a doctor. Your doctor can provide a thorough examination and give you professional advice on how to manage the stye and speed up the healing process. Your doctor may prescribe medication or recommend other treatment options if needed.

  • Increasing Pain: If the pain associated with your stye gets worse and becomes unbearable, it's important to seek medical attention right away. A severe stye can cause a lot of discomfort and may even affect your ability to see properly. Your doctor will be able to give you the proper treatment and relief from the pain.

  • Vision Impairment: If your stye is affecting your vision or causing you significant discomfort, it's important to see a healthcare professional as soon as possible. Any changes in your vision or significant pain in the eye should not be ignored, as they could be signs of a more serious condition. Your healthcare provider will be able to assess the situation and recommend the best course of treatment.

  • Recurrent Styes: If you find yourself getting styes frequently, or if you have multiple styes at the same time, it may be a sign of a bigger problem that needs to be investigated by a doctor. Styes are typically a one-off issue, so if you're experiencing them regularly, there may be an underlying condition causing them that needs to be addressed. Your doctor will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend the best treatment for you.

  • Chalazion Formation: If the stye turns into a chalazion, which is a larger painless lump, you may need medical intervention to prevent any potential complications. A chalazion is a hardened mass of oil and other substances that can form in the eyelid. It's usually not painful, but it can cause your eyelid to become swollen and misshapen. If left untreated, a chalazion can grow larger and potentially affect your vision, so it's important to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

  • Complications: If you start to notice any signs of complications like redness that's spreading beyond the area of the stye, increasing swelling, or the development of a fever, it's important to see a doctor right away. These symptoms can indicate a more serious infection that needs to be treated as soon as possible to prevent further complications. Your doctor will be able to assess your symptoms and determine the best course of treatment.

  • Diabetes or Immune System Disorders: If you have diabetes or an immune system disorder, it's important to be extra cautious and seek medical advice right away if you have any concerns about your eyes. People with these conditions are more prone to eye infections and other complications, so it's crucial to get prompt treatment to avoid more serious problems. Your healthcare provider can evaluate your symptoms and recommend the best treatment for you.

  • Severe Discomfort: If the stye is causing you a lot of discomfort or making it hard for you to do your daily activities, it's important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Even if the stye is not life-threatening, if it's making it hard for you to do your daily activities or even sleep, it's a sign that it's time to seek help. Your doctor can recommend the right treatment to help ease your discomfort and get you back to feeling like yourself.

Are you or someone in your family experiencing eye discomfort, a stye that just won't go away, or any other vision-related concerns? Don't wait - contact Center One Medical today! At Center One Medical, we care about the health and well-being of your entire family. Our Family Practice Physician is here to provide complete care for everyone in your family. Take the first step towards prioritizing the health of your loved ones and book an appointment with us. Let our team become part of your family and ensure your health is always top-of-mind.


In conclusion, understanding styes—what causes them, what they look like, and how to treat them—is important. This knowledge helps people take action before the problem gets worse. While styes are generally not dangerous and are pretty common, good hygiene and early intervention can help reduce pain and prevent future infections.


1. Are Styes Contagious?

  • No, styes are not contagious. They are caused by bacteria that are already on your skin, and they cannot be spread from one person to another. But, it's important to practice good hygiene to prevent bacteria from spreading. Wash your hands often, and don't share towels or washcloths with others. And don't use eye makeup that's been used by someone else, because that can spread bacteria too.

2. Can I Wear Contact Lenses with a Stye?

  • It is best to avoid wearing contact lenses while you have a stye. Contact lenses can irritate the affected area and potentially spread the infection. Switch to glasses until the stye has completely healed. Make sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect your contact lenses and their case before using them again.

3. Can I Pop a Stye to Relieve the Pain?

  • No, you shouldn't try to pop a stye. That can make it worse and even spread the infection. Instead, use a warm compress to help the stye drain on its own. But, if the stye is really big or really painful, you should see a doctor for help. They can give you medicine to help make it better.

4. What's the difference between a stye and a chalazion?

  • A stye is a red, painful bump that is caused by a bacterial infection. A chalazion is a painless lump that is caused by a blocked oil gland. Styes often get better on their own, but chalazia sometimes need to be treated by a doctor.

5. When should I see a doctor for a stye?

  • If the stye lasts longer than two weeks, causes a lot of pain, makes it hard to see, or has any other problems, you should see a doctor. People with diabetes or a weak immune system should be very careful and see a doctor as soon as possible if they get a stye.

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