Click a letter to see a list of conditions beginning with that letter.
Click 'Topic Index' to return to the index for the current topic.
Click 'Library Index' to return to the listing of all topics.
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:
© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.