Styes

Styes

Lea este articulo en EspanolAs health problems go, a stye is usually no more than a minor annoyance. If your child develops one, you can probably treat it at home.

About Styes

A stye is a red, painful bump on the eyelid, caused by a backed-up oil gland. Styes can appear on either the upper or lower eyelid, as well as the inside or the outside of the eyelid, near the edge of the eyelid where the eyelashes are.

Eyelids have lots of oil glands. They can't be seen without a microscope, but these glands produce the liquid-like substance that helps lubricate the front of the eyes along with tears.

Sometimes, these glands can get clogged with old oil, dead skin cells, and old skin bacteria. When this happens, liquid builds up in the clogged gland and can't get out.

stye illustration

The result is a little bump on the upper or lower eyelid that might look like a pimple. A stye can become infected and get very red and swollen.

Treating Styes

If your child has a stye, you'll want to get the clogged-up oil out of it. Applying heat helps the oil become more liquid. To do this, soak a clean washcloth in warm (not hot!) water. Wring out the excess water, then place the washcloth over the eye for a few minutes. Repeat this several times a day.

You also can clean the eyelid with special eye-scrub soap (available at drugstores) or with watered-down baby shampoo, which is designed to not hurt eyes. Soak a cotton swab in the solution and use it to clean your child's eyelid.

If your child wears contact lenses, have him or her switch to wearing glasses until the stye goes away. Clean the contacts thoroughly before your child wears them again.

If your child has pain in the eyeball or problems seeing, call your doctor. Also call if there is any swelling and redness beyond the eyelid (in the eye or other parts of the face).

If the Stye Gets Worse

The stye should begin to improve over a few days. If it doesn't or it becomes worse, call your doctor.

The doctor may give you an antibiotic cream to use on the stye or prescribe antibiotics. In rare cases, the doctor might make a tiny cut in the eyelid to let out the clogged-up material. The doctor also will determine whether your child has something other than a stye and, if so, treat it.

Prevention

Kids who get one stye are at higher risk of getting another one. To make that less likely, your child should:

Reviewed by: Jonathan H. Salvin, MD
Date reviewed: April 2012





Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.





Bookmark and Share

Related Resources
Web SiteEyeCare America EyeCare America is a public service foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology that works to raise awareness about eye disease and care, provide free eye health educational materials, and facilitate access to medical eye care.
Related Articles
Eye Injuries You can treat many minor eye irritations by flushing the eye, but more serious injuries require medical attention.
Why Do I Need to Wash My Hands? Washing your hands is the best way to stop germs from spreading. Learn all about the best way to wash your hands in this article for kids.
Why Is Hand Washing So Important? Did you know that proper hand washing is the best way to keep from getting sick? Here's how to teach this all-important habit to your kids.
Glasses and Contact Lenses Sometimes the different parts of the eye don't work together the way they should. When this happens, people wear glasses or contact lenses. Find out more in this article for kids.
Pinkeye (Conjunctivitis) Pinkeye, or conjunctivitis, is the most common eye infection affecting kids. Learn more about pinkeye and how to prevent it from spreading.
Styes Oh my, is that a stye? Find out what to do about these eyelid bumps.
When Can I Wear Contact Lenses? If you're tired of wearing glasses, read this article about when many kids get contact lenses.
Styes A stye is a backed-up oil gland in the eyelid. Styes are usually easy to get rid of, but there are some things you can do to help. Learn more about styes.
Skin, Hair, and Nails Our skin protects the network of tissues, muscles, bones, nerves, blood vessels, and everything else inside our bodies. Hair and nails are actually modified types of skin.
Hand Washing Did you know that the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands? If you don't wash your hands frequently, you can pick up germs from other sources and then infect yourself.
Eyes The eyes are small compared with most of the body's other organs, but their structure is incredibly complex. Learn more about eyes, vision, and common problems with both.
Taking Care of Your Vision Even if you're lucky enough to have perfect vision, taking care of and protecting your eyes is vital to keeping your peepers perfect. Learn all about how to take care of your baby blues (or browns or greens) in this article.
Eyes Although your eyes are small, their structure is incredibly complex. Find out how they work in this body basics article.
iGrow iGrow
Sign up for our parent enewsletter