A stye is a very common infection of the eyelid that is rarely serious, although it is typically painful^1^. Styes are painful swellings caused by bacteria that gradually grow in the root of an eyelash.
Typically, the first thing you will notice is a tender lump that resembles a pimple near the root of your eyelash^2^. Your eye may be watery, and the eyelid may look red^3^. Over the course of a few days, the lump may grow, becoming more painful and swollen^3^. It may then just shrink in size and disappear, or it may burst and discharge the contents first^2^. This is nothing to worry about, but do keep it clean and it will usually just resolve itself^2^.
Styes generally require no treatment, but may resolve faster if you apply a warm compress for 10 minutes, up to four times a day^2^. Usually, it takes about a week from the time they emerge to the time they fully heal^2^.
You can help to prevent styes by keeping your eyelids clean^3^ and doing your best not to rub your eyes, and if you are concerned that you are experiencing persistent or frequent styes, consult your eye care professional for advice.
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