Unwanted visitor: A sty in the eye and how to get rid of it

A sty in the eye should usually go away by itself after about a week, doctors say.

It feels horrible and usually doesn’t look particularly nice either: a sty in the eye.

Believe it or not, this uninvited guest usually disappears on its own, according to the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. After about a week, the sty will open up, the pus inside will drain away and the swelling will go down.

However, you can try to speed up the process. The golden rule: Stay away from it! That means don’t try to pop it. However, it may be useful to clean the edge of the affected eyelid briefly and carefully. Pharmacies offer special cleaning cloths and liquids for this purpose.

A warm compresses, eye mask or red light irradiation can also make a sty open up more quickly. However, the experts warn against moist compresses as they soften the skin and may cause the inflammation to spread further.

Another remedy available at the pharmacy are germicidal ointments or gels that can be applied to the sty. However, antibiotics should only be used on medical advice.

If your sty hasn’t opened up on its own after two weeks, you should see your doctor, the experts say, as a minor surgical operation may be necessary.