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How long does a stye last?

A stye usually lasts about a week, from its formation to when it is completely healed. A bigger stye may last up to two weeks.

A new stye tends to develop and grow over the course of a few days. Once it gets big enough, it should drain on its own and slowly heal.

As tempting as it may be, do not pop your stye. When you pop a stye, bacteria is released too early and can lead to a more serious eye infection. Your best bet is to wait for the stye to run its course.

Home remedies for styes can reduce the amount of time they take to heal. The most common at-home treatment is a warm compress — a damp towel soaked in warm water and applied to the stye for about 10 minutes. Use this simple treatment three or four times per day until the stye heals.

If a stye lasts for more than a week or two, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor. They may suggest using stye medicine or a stye removal procedure to fix your problem.

SEE RELATED: What causes a stye?

Recurring styes

Sometimes a stye will heal on its own, only to be replaced by another one in a matter of weeks or months. This new stye may be in the same location or a different one altogether.

If you experience chronic styes, you probably have a condition called blepharitis, a common inflammation of the eyelids.

Conditions like meibomian gland dysfunction, eyelid infections, parasites and certain skin conditions can cause blepharitis. Common symptoms include:

  • Swollen, irritated eyelids

  • Crusty, flaky debris along eyelash roots

  • Eye redness

  • Itchy eyelids and eyes

  • A gritty feeling in the eyes

In some cases, blepharitis can lead to recurring styes and chalazia. This happens when the inflammation causes oil ducts in the eyelid to become blocked and infected.

The best way to prevent chronic styes caused by blepharitis is to carefully manage the condition, along with the underlying issue itself. An eye doctor may suggest using eyelid wipes, artificial tears and warm compresses, along with limiting your use of eye makeup and contact lenses.

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