Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
What is the treatment for a sty? Is there a home remedy for a sty?
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Most styes will drain and resolve on their own without the need for medical treatment. Application of a warm compress or warm washcloth to the affected area for 10-15 minutes, four to six times a day, can be an effective home remedy and speed rupture of the sty. This will aid in the relief of symptoms. A sty should not be pressed or squeezed to facilitate drainage, since this can spread or worsen the infection. If a sty persists for several days, a doctor may lance (drain) the infection under local anesthesia in his or her office. Babies or children who require surgical drainage of a sty may need a general anesthetic. Antibiotic ointments and/or steroid ointments sometimes are prescribed to treat a sty. Rarely, systemic (oral) antibiotics are recommended for persistent or multiple styes. Over-the-counter pain medications may be used to alleviate pain and tenderness. Contact lenses and eye makeup should never be worn during treatment for a sty.
What is the prognosis (outcome) of a sty?
A sty is harmless in the majority of cases. In most cases, a sty ruptures on its own within a few days to a week, leading to relief from symptoms. Some people will require medical or surgical treatment of a sty, as with complications described in the following section. A sty does not cause intraocular damage (damage to the eye). Styes often recur, but complications of styes are rare (see below).
Are there any potential complications resulting from a sty?
Complications of a sty are rare. The infection may spread to other eyelash follicles, leading to multiple styes. A chalazion (a form of scarring of the glands in the eyelid that may include the formation of cysts) is the most common complication that develops from a sty. Chalazia can be large enough to deform the cornea of the eye and interfere with vision, and they may cause a cosmetic problem. Other potential complications include spreading of the infection to the eyelids (blepharitis) or other tissues of the eye area (periorbital or orbital cellulitis), and improper drainage of a sty may lead to deformity or disruption of growth of eyelashes. Progression of a sty to a systemic infection (spreading throughout the body) is extremely rare, and only a few instances of such spread have been reported.
Reviewed by Jay W. Marks, MD on 1/30/2013
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