Styes are painful red bumps or lumps that develop along the edge of the eyelid. Occasionally, a stye will form on the inside of your eyelid.

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What causes a stye?

A stye develops when an eyelash follicle gets infected, often by bacteria called staphylococcus. The bacteria can also cause an infection in one of the oil glands in the eyelid area. It might start out with some tenderness or redness. Then the stye may develop as a red bump, sometimes with a small pus spot in the middle. It is not contagious.

A stye is like another type of eyelid lump called a chalazion. A chalazion develops when one of the small oil glands along the eyelid gets blocked. The main difference is that a chalazion doesn’t hurt.

A stye is different from pink eye, which is contagious.

How are styes treated?

Start with home remedies, such as putting a warm compress on your eye for 10 to 15 minutes several times a day. It may help open up the clogged follicle, so it can drain. But don’t try to pop it or squeeze it, since that can spread the infection.

You may also need an antibiotic ointment to treat the infection. Your healthcare provider can give you an eye exam and prescribe the right kind of stye medication for you.

Don’t wear contact lenses while you have a stye. Your healthcare provider might also suggest not wearing any eye makeup either.

How can you prevent a stye?

Prevent styes by thoroughly cleaning your eyes before bedtime, especially if you wear eye makeup.

If you have a stye that won’t go away, or you need help managing your symptoms, CareNow® urgent care can help. Locate the nearest CareNow® urgent care clinic to set up a visit.

Our clinics are open seven days a week for walk-in patients. You can minimize your wait time with our Web Check-In®.

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