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What is a stye?A stye (hordeolum) is a tender red bump on the edge of your eyelid.
What causes a stye?
A stye happens when a gland on the edge of your eyelid gets infected. When it occurs inside or under the eyelid, it is called an internal hordeolum.
The infection is most often caused by a bacteria or germ called staph (Staphylococcus aureus).
Who is at risk for a stye?
You are more likely to get a stye if you:
- Have had one before
- Wear contact lenses
- Are not keeping your eye area clean
- Use eye makeup that is old or contaminated
- Have other eye conditions such as an inflamed or infected eyelid (blepharitis)
- Have other conditions such as rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, or diabetes
What are the symptoms of a stye?
Each person’s symptoms may vary. Symptoms may include:
- Swelling, redness, pain, or tenderness of the eyelid
- Feeling like there is something in your eye
- Being bothered by bright light
- Tearing and crusting of the eye
The symptoms of a stye may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.
How is a stye diagnosed?
In most cases your healthcare provider will be able to tell that you have a stye by looking at it.
You will not need to take any tests.
How is a stye treated?
In most cases a stye will go away on its own.
There are some things you can do to treat the stye at home. These include:
- Putting a warm, wet cloth (compress) on your eyelid for 5 to 10 minutes. This should be done 3 to 5 times a day.
- Washing your hands often
- Washing your face daily, including the eye area
- Not touching the area
- Not squeezing the stye
- Not wearing makeup until the infection heals
Your healthcare provider may also:
- Give you special bacteria-fighting (antibiotic) creams or ointments to put on the area. Only certain ones are safe to use near your eyes.
- Refer you to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) if the stye does not go away.
What can I do to prevent a stye?
To prevent a stye, you should:
- Wash your hands often
- Wash your face and eye area
- Be careful when using and removing eye makeup
When should I call my healthcare provider?
Call your healthcare provider if you:
- Notice redness or swelling of your eyelid
- Have pain in your eyelid
- Feel like something is in your eye
Key points about styes
- A stye (hordeolum) is a tender red bump on the edge of the eyelid.
- It is an infection of a gland of the eyelid.
- The infection is most often caused by bacteria called staph (Staphylococcus aureus).
- The most common symptoms are redness and swelling of the eyelid.
- In most cases a stye will go away on its own.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
- Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
- Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.
- At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.
- Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
- Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
- Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
- Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
- If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
- Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.
Online Medical Reviewer:
Berman, Kevin, MD, PhD
Online Medical Reviewer:
Sather, Rita, RN
Date Last Reviewed:
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