• Can I use warm compresses on my stye for more than 10 minutes?


    Question:

    With a stye, everything I read says to use warm compresses for 10 minutes at a time. I would like to use a low temp compress at 10 to 15 degrees above body temperature, and leave it on longer to help move the stye along. Can I leave an eye compress on for longer than 10 minutes?


    Answer:

    Yes. Warm compresses will allow the clogged oil gland (which causes the stye) to open up and ultimately drain the stye.

    I usually encourage patients with a stye or chalazion to consider watching TV with a bowl of warm (not hot) water on their lap. Soak a washcloth in the warm water and hold it over the closed lids. When the cloth cools, rewet it in the bowl of warm water, and replace the water when it cools.

    Stye are very common, and are a side effect of meibomitis, an ongoing, non-infectious (non-spreading) inflammation (swelling) of the lids. You can prevent recurrence of a stye by soaking your lids for 1-4 minutes every morning and gently washing the lids with a warm washcloth.

    If the stye comes back, however, or doesn't go away, see your ophthalmologist. You might need a steroid injection, or removal of the chalazion, or even a biopsy, which can help determine if the tissue is a dangerous tumor.


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