Is this your child's symptom?

  • A red lump or pimple on the edge of an eyelid
  • It starts at the bottom of an eyelash

Next Steps


Symptoms of a Sty

  • A tender, red lump on the eyelid at the base of an eyelash
  • Turns into a small pimple on the eyelid
  • A sty is tender to touch
  • A sty causes mild swelling of the eyelid
  • A sty can cause a watery eye


  • A bacterial infection of the hair follicle of an eyelash.
  • The most common germ that causes this is Staph.
  • Risk factors. Rubbing the eyes (especially after picking the nose.) The nose is the most frequent home of Staph. Also, more common when using eye makeup.

Care Advice for a Sty


  1. What You Should Know About a Sty:
    • A sty is a minor infection of an eyelash.
    • A sty usually comes to a head and forms a pimple in 3 to 5 days.
    • Most often, it drains and heals in a few more days.
    • Most styes can be treated at home.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Apply Heat to Bring to a Head:
    • Put a warm, wet washcloth to the eye. Do this for 10 minutes 3 times a day. Reason: This helps the sty come to a head.
    • Continue the warm wet cloth even after the sty begins to drain. Reason: To help remove the discharge and heal the sty.
    • Caution: Do not rub the eye. Reason: Rubbing can cause more styes.
  3. Open the Pimple:
    • Age limit: Your child is over 5 years old and cooperative.
    • When the center of the sty becomes yellow, you can open it. Do this by using tweezers. Pull out the eyelash that goes through the pimple. This will start drainage and healing.
    • Another option is to wait for drainage to start on its own. Most often, this occurs in another 1-2 days.
    • Caution: Do not squeeze the red lump. Reason: This can cause an eyelid infection.
  4. Antibiotic Eye Medicine:
    • Most single styes respond to the treatment with heat. They don't need prescription antibiotic eyedrops.
    • If there is more than one sty, your child may need antibiotic eyedrops. Also, antibiotics may be needed if styes keep coming back. This usually happens to children who rub their eyes often.
  5. Contact Lenses:
    • Children who wear contact lenses need to switch to glasses until the sty heals.
    • Reason: To prevent damage to the cornea.
    • Disinfect the contacts before wearing them again.
    • Discard them if they are disposable.
  6. What to Expect:
    • A sty usually comes to a head and forms a pimple in 3 to 5 days.
    • Most often, it drains and heals in a few more days.
  7. Return To School:
    • Children with a sty usually do not need to miss any school.
  8. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Eyelid gets red or swollen
    • Sty comes to a head, but does not drain by 3 days
    • More styes occur
    • Sty is not gone by 10 days
    • You think your child needs to be seen
    • Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

When to see a Doctor

Call Doctor or Seek Care Now
  • Eyelid is very red or very swollen
  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent
Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours
  • Sty gets larger than ¼ inch (6 mm)
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent
Contact Doctor During Office Hours
  • 2 or more styes are present now
  • Styes have occurred in the past 3 or more times
  • Sty has come to a head (pimple), but has not drained after 3 days
  • Sty lasts for more than 10 days
  • You have other questions or concerns
Self Care at Home
  • One sty
Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.