A sty is an acute inflammation of a gland at the base of eye.

What to look for

  • a red swelling near the edge of the eyelid.

A sty is a pimple on the eyelid. It usually means the gland on the eyelid is infected.

Sties are very painful but usually only last 3-4 days.

Sties are usually harmless and rarely affect your eye or sight. They can happen to both sexes at any age and at any time.


The staphylococcal bacteria is the culprit. This bacteria will survive quite nicely within your nostrils and can easily spread to your eye with the rub of your hand.

Traditional Treatment

Most sties do not last very long, but they will make their presence known while they are there.

Over-the-counter medications are available to rid yourself of sties or you can let nature take its course. If you do apply medications be very sure to follow the advice of our Pharmacist, as well as the directions and never put the ointment inside your eye. The eye area is extremely sensitive.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies -  Calendula may alleviate Sty’s.

Tea Tree Oil may also help but take care not to get any Tea Tree Oil into the Eye

To help reduce the pain and inflammation of sties, Herbalists recommend professionally prepared eye drops made from eyebright. They may also prescribe an oral preparation of burdock.

Dietary Considerations

Supplements of vitamins A and C may help with this problem.


If sties recur keep the eyelids scrupulously clean.

When to seek further professional advice

  • the sty refuses to go after a few weeks.

  • the swelling interferes with your vision.

  • there is pain inside the eye.

  • you have recurrent sties.