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How to Avoid a Stye


Updated May 29, 2014

Woman removing makeup
Crystal Cartier Photography/Stockbyte/Getty Images
A stye (or hordeolum) occurs on the eyelid when an eyelash follicle or a gland becomes clogged with oil or dirt. A stye looks like a small red pimple, usually with a yellowish surface. Styes can be painful and annoying, usually causing the eye to tear excessively. If you are prone to developing styes, the following tips may help you avoid them.

  • Relax. Styes often develop in times of stress. College students cramming for exams often wake up with a stye. During times of stress, our bodies excrete certain chemicals and hormones that may play a role in developing styes. Because stress is unavoidable in life, it is important to find ways to reduce or prevent stressful incidents and strive to decrease negative reactions to stress.

  • Keep It Clean. Clogged glands that line the eyelid can become infected and possibly develop into a stye. Take time daily to properly clean your face, gently washing your eyelids to remove excess debris. Never fall asleep without removing makeup. Residue from cosmetics can easily clog the glands of the eyelids.

  • Scrub. If you are prone to blepharitis, an inflammation and infective eyelid disease, put yourself on a schedule of weekly or even daily eyelid washes. Pre-packaged and pre-medicated eyelid wipes are available in stores, making it easy to scrub the eyelids to reduce or eliminate bacteria that cause blepharitis, reducing the chance of developing a stye. Tear-free baby shampoo applied to a warm washcloth is a less-expensive alternative and makes a great eye scrub.

  • Compress. Right before bed, apply a warm compress or washcloth soaked in very warm water to your eyes for 5 to 10 minutes.
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  4. Common Eye Problems
  5. How to Avoid Eye Styes

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