They can be sore, itchy, crusty, swollen, red and, in the case of larger styes, painful or uncomfortable. Styes inside the eyelid tend to be a lot more painful.
Styes usually only affect one eye, and while the eye itself will often be bloodshot, sore and watery, in the vast majority of cases you’ll still be able to see.
Styes are usually caused by a bacterial infection, which can affect areas such as the glands in your eye and the hair follicles of eyelashes. These glands are designed to ensure your eye stays properly lubricated, which is why a stye can cause sore, red eyes.
Styes will usually clear up on their own within a couple of weeks. They will burst naturally and any pus will drain away. While you must never try and squeeze or pop a stye, or pluck an eyelash out of one, there are things you can do to relieve your discomfort and speed up the process.
A warm cloth is the simplest method. Simply hold this over your eye for a few minutes at regular intervals, until the stye gently bursts and your eye can start returning to normal.
If your stye is particularly painful or uncomfortable, you can ask a doctor about painkillers that you can take while the infection clears up.
Using a video consultation, you can easily discuss your stye with one of our experienced GPs. They’ll be able to take a look at your eye and recommend practical steps you can take to deal with it. We’re here seven days a week, so book an appointment at a time to suit you and get the care you need.