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How Long Does a Stye Last?

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Close up of eye stye on women's eyes

Dealing with any issues that involve your eyes can be stressful. Identifying medical eye care issues is essential in tackling any discomfort and finding treatment as soon as possible.

With how sensitive your eyes can be, frequent check-ups with your optometrist are always a good idea. 

A stye is one of those eye care issues that can pop up—you’ll want to know all about how to deal with it and how long it can last.

Let’s explore how long a stye can last, what a stye is, how it forms, and some possible treatments. 

What Is A Stye?

A stye is a pimple-like red bump that forms on the outside edge of the eyelid. Your eyelids have tiny oil glands, primarily around the eyelashes. A stye can develop if anything like dead skin, dirt, or oil buildup clogs or blocks these small glands. 

The symptoms of a stye can alert you to its presence.

Some of the beginning stage symptoms of stye include:

  • Eyelid pain
  • Eyelid swelling
  • Tearing
  • A red lump on your eyelid that resembles a pimple

These symptoms can show up when a stye is forming—however, another condition can appear that has similar eyelid inflammation symptoms called a chalazion.

The difference between a stye (hordeolum) and a chalazion is that a chalazion is usually not as painful. However, a hordeolum if not read quickly will turn into a chalazion. A chalazion is much more difficult to resolve and it may take lid surgery to remove a chalazion. So it is best to manage your hordeolum sooner than later!  

Now that you know some of the symptoms of a stye, let’s explore some risk factors that can contribute to a stye forming.

How Long Does a Stye Stick Around?

The appearance of a stye can bring great discomfort that results in a hit to your self-confidence because of its visible nature. 

Styes should be treated quickly and may resolve within 7 to 10 days in some cases. If not treated quickly, it can last indefinitely. 

Some at-home treatments you can try include: 

  • Use a warm compress on the affected area
  • Clean your eyelid with especially formulated eyelid cleanser (PH balanced) 
  • Avoid wearing makeup and contact lenses if possible

If the condition of your stye persists and the redness and swelling, that’s a good indication to book an appointment with your optometrist to pursue further treatments.

Risk Factors

Because a stye is formed by the infection of oil glands in the eyelid, maintaining good hygiene practices can help with prevention.

Avoid the following risk factors

  • Touching your eyes with unwashed hands
  • Inserting contact lenses without disinfecting them first
  • Leaving on eye makeup overnight
  • Using old or expired cosmetics

Practicing good habits can help prevent the discomfort that comes along with a stye. But if a stye has formed, possible treatments exist to help alleviate the discomfort. 

Stye Treatment

Your optometrist can provide various treatments to help deal with a stubborn stye and recovery process. Let’s explore some of these treatments.

1. IPL Therapy

Intense pulsed light therapy (IPL therapy) occurs in-office and can be used to treat styes. The treatment uses specific wavelengths of light to reduce inflammation around the eyes.

The treatment begins with protecting your eyes with specially-designed eye shields and a cooling gel to keep the area around your eyes comfortable. 

After you’re protected, the IPL device will start its work and target the inflammation

2. RF Therapy

Radiofrequency therapy (RF therapy) uses high-frequency electrical currents on your skin to generate heat. The heat from RF therapy can reduce inflammation around your eyes. 

Because of the symptoms of styes, the reduced inflammation garnered from RF therapy can alleviate the discomfort that a stye can present. 

3. LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation

LipiFlow is an-office treatment that uses gentle heat pressure to massage around the eyelids, helping them create better quality tears naturally. 

LipiFlow is an efficient and painless procedure that leaves the surface area of your eye untouched. The gentle heat and pressure can help relax the stye swelling around your eye.

These in-office treatments administered by your optometrist can help accelerate the recovery process from any stubborn styes. 

Getting Over a Stye

The appearance of a stye can be an uncomfortable experience—and recovery time can vary. There are some steps you can take and treatments you can pursue to properly manage the recovery process.

Book an appointment with your optometrist today to discuss treatment options for your stye. 

Written by Dr. Ritesh Patel

Some people grow up wanting to be a famous athlete, an astronaut, or even the Prime Minister of Canada. Dr. Patel’s childhood ambition was to be an Optometrist. His dream leads him to live and practice all over the world, but his heart has always been in Toronto.

Dr. Patel was born in Toronto and grew up in the Markham area. After completing his Bachelor of Science in 2003 from the University of Waterloo, he went on to study at the prestigious New England College of Optometry in Boston, MA.

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