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ABC Children's Eye Specialists

Ophthalmologists & Optometrists located in Avondale, Phoenix, & Mesa, AZ

Many styes improve quickly with at-home care, but when a stye doesn’t improve or gets worse, it’s important to see your child’s eye doctor as soon as possible. At ABC Children’s Eye Specialists in Phoenix, Avondale, and Mesa, Arizona, the team of experienced pediatric ophthalmologists and optometrists treat styes using antibiotics and surgery as needed. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone today.

Stye Q & A

What is a stye?

A stye is an inflamed red bump that forms on the eyelid at the base of an eyelash, usually on the lower eyelid. They look like a boil or pimple, are painful and tender to the touch, and are filled with pus. Styes are more common in children than in adults.

Styes form because of a bacterial infection in the gland of an eyelid. This happens after the gland becomes clogged with old oil, dead skin cells, or skin bacteria.

A blocked gland can also form another kind of bump, called a chalazion, which is larger and usually forms on the upper eyelid. Unlike styes, chalazions aren’t painful, but they may grow large enough to press against the eyeball and cause blurred vision.

A stye usually isn’t a serious medical concern, and they’re not contagious, but they cause discomfort and can lead to more serious infections. Also, once your child has a stye, they’re likely to get styes in the future.

Can I treat my child’s stye at home?

In many cases, yes. Styes usually clear up on their own within a few weeks, and with at-home care, you can ease your child’s symptoms and help the stye heal more quickly. The goal is for the stye to open and drain, but it’s important to be gentle and never try squeezing or popping the style.

If your child has a stye, apply a warm compress to their eye a few minutes at a time several times a day. You can also clean the affected eyelid using a cotton swab and eyewash solution or watered-down baby shampoo. Chalazions also respond to warm compresses.

If the stye doesn’t improve after a few days or gets worse, schedule an appointment at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists right away.

What treatment options are available for styes?

If your child’s stye is not improving with at-home care, their ABC Children’s Eye Specialists doctor prescribes an antibiotic cream to apply to the stye. The antibiotic cream doesn’t cause the stye to heal faster, but it stops the infection from spreading. If your child has a more serious infection, their doctor prescribes oral antibiotics.

In some cases, a stye doesn’t clear up after several weeks, even with antibiotics. Or, a chalazion is large enough to interfere with your child’s vision and doesn’t shrink. The next step is to drain the stye or chalazion. Your child is asleep throughout this procedure, and the ophthalmologists at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists have extensive experience in performing eye surgery on children.

After a stye or chalazion removal procedure, your child receives eye ointment to protect the area from infection while it heals.

To get your child treatment for a stye that isn’t improving or getting worse, schedule an appointment at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists online or over the phone.