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What To Do If You Have A Stye

A stye (or hordeolum) is a small, painful, red bump on the eyelid. Usually located near the eyelashes on the upper or lower eyelid, a stye can also appear under the eyelid. A stye is an infection of an oil gland caused by staphylococcus bacteria and resembles a pimple.

Most styes heal on their own in a few days. If the bump is set back further on the eyelid, it may actually be a chalazion—which is caused by a blocked oil gland and may or may not become infected. If you have attempted the at-home remedies below for a stye or chalazion, but continue to have pain and swelling, or your symptoms worsen, contact us at

Call 847-262-3703 for further instructions. We are available for emergency visits after hours by calling the number provided if your reach our after hours voicemail.

Call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room in severe cases of trauma.

Red Cross

Eye Emergencies

What to Do if You Have a Stye

  • DO NOT pop a stye (to keep from spreading the infection)
  • DO NOT wear contact lenses or eye makeup
  • DO NOT share items that come into contact with the stye, like pillowcases and washcloths (to avoid the spread of infection)
  • DO cleanse eyelids using tear-free baby shampoo or special eyelid cleansing pads
  • DO use warm compresses for 10-15 minutes at a time, 3-5 times a day
  • DO take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for mild pain
  • DO make an appointment with your eye doctor at Forsight Vision if you don’t see improvement after 48 hours or if swelling extends beyond the eyelid

More Information About Styes

Certain hygiene habits and conditions can put you at increased risk for developing styes. These risk factors include:

  • Improper handwashing
  • Not removing makeup daily before bed
  • Using old or expired eye makeup
  • Rosacea diagnosis (a skin condition causing facial redness)
  • Chronic inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis)

To prevent eye infections, including styes:

  • Follow proper handwashing guidelines. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer regularly. And avoid touching your eyes.
  • Properly clean your contact lenses. Follow instructions on packaging and advice given by your optometrist. Wash hands before handling contact lenses.
  • Throw away old cosmetics. Check expiration dates and avoid re-infecting yourself with contaminated eye makeup.
  • Manage your blepharitis. If you’ve been diagnosed with this condition, follow your eye doctor’s advice. We offer BlephEx® treatments to help manage the condition. BlephEx® is a gentle exfoliation procedure done at our office to remove the biofilm that leads to blepharitis and recurring styes.

In cases that don’t respond to eyelid cleansing and hot compresses, your eye doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help clear the infection. Severe cases that don’t respond to these treatments may require a surgical incision to relieve the pain and pressure and allow the stye or chalazion to be drained.

Our vision care team is able to help you alleviate stye symptoms and offer treatment for your situation. We are located in the Grove Medical Center in Long Grove, just a short distance from the neighboring communities of Arlington Heights, Deerfield, Hawthorn Woods, Lincolnshire and Vernon Hills. Call us at 847-955-9393 for more information or to request an appointment. If you are calling after hours, special instructions are provided on our voicemail for severe optical emergencies so you can receive proper medical treatment as quickly as possible from us or a nearby urgent care center.

Why Visit Us For Your Urgent Care/Eye Emergency?

Our eye doctors and staff are passionate about providing the highest quality of medical eye care available. Patients visit us from all over the area with a variety of eye emergencies, and we are proud that we offer some of the most advanced diagnosis and treatment technology in the greater Chicago area.

Our optometrists, Dr. Cohan and Dr. Cozzone, have extensive experience with advanced medical eye care and can handle most eye emergencies without the need for you to go to the emergency room or urgent care. Give us a call, we are happy to help put you at ease and get your emergency taken care of quickly and effectively.

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Forsight Vision provides urgent care for eye emergencies for patients in the area, including our neighboring communities of
Arlington Heights | Deerfield | Hawthorn Woods | Lincolnshire | Vernon Hills