What to do if your child has a stye

A stye is a red painful lump on the eyelid caused by a backed-up oil gland.

Where a stye can appear

  • On the upper or lower eyelid.

  • The inside or outside of the eyelid.

  • Where the eyelashes are.

What are styes?

Eyelids have lots of glands which make a special oil that mixes with tears to keep eyes lubricated. Sometimes these glands get blocked up with old skin bacteria and dead skin cells which causes liquid to build up in the clogged gland.

Discover: the difference between a stye and a chalazion

What to do if your child has a stye

Styes usually clear up within a week or two, but if your child has reoccurring styes then it is best to visit your local optometrist for further advice as styes can sometimes be due to an underlying skin condition such as rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis.

Stye treatment for kids

To treat a stye:

  1. Soak a warm compressed cloth in warm water three or four times a day

  2. Gently hold the cloth against the affected eye

  3. Tell your child not to squeeze or rub the stye

  4. Make sure your child washes their hands frequently.

Antibiotic cream or eye drops may additionally be required, which can be discussed with your local opticians.


If you have any concerns about the health of your child's eyes or their vision, find your local independent optometrist by entering your postcode.


Always consult a qualified optometrist to confirm a diagnosis!

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