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Stye (Hordeolum): Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Medically reviewed by Victor Paulino, MD, DPBO · Ophthalmology · Makati Medical Center

Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Aug 24, 2022

    Stye (Hordeolum): Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

    A stye is an inflammation or infection that occurs on the eyelids. It mostly occurs due to Staphylococcus bacteria. A stye looks similar to a pimple and may occur either on the inner part or outer part of your eyelids. It is a painful condition and may make it difficult to blink your eyes.

    Also referred to as hordeolum, a stye is classified into two main types – external hordeolum and internal hordeolum. A stye that occurs on the outer area of the eyelid is called an external hordeolum.

    Individuals with the condition may experience pain when touched. The lump appears red or yellow and is filled with pus. A stye that occurs on the inner area of the eyelid is termed an internal hordeolum. It is a painful condition and individuals with the condition may experience a burning sensation, difficulty in blinking, itching, and sensitivity to light.


    The common symptom of the condition is the occurrence of a lump on the eyelid that appears red and has pus inside it.

    Other symptoms include:

    • swelling
    • pain
    • tenderness
    • itching
    • blurry vision
    • burning sensation in the affected area
    • You may even experience difficulty in blinking and draining of pus from the infected area.

    The occurrence of a lump may make your eyes feel heavy.

    In most cases, a stye recovers within a week. If the condition persists, consult your doctor.

    In rare cases, you may experience bleeding, the spread of infection to the nearby areas, and changes in vision. If you experience any such symptoms, seek immediate medical help.

    Causes of Stye

    Common causes of a stye include:

    • A stye is mainly caused due to the infection from Staphylococcus bacteria.
    • It is a contagious disease and may be caused when an individual uses napkins or accessories of an infected person.
    • The disease may also occur due to nutrient deficiency.

    Not following proper hygiene may cause the accumulation of dead skin, oil, and dirt near your eyes and cause blockage in the oil glands of your eyelids. The blockage may act as a breeding ground for the bacteria to grow and cause the development of a stye.

    Risk Factors

    You are more at the risk of developing stye if:

    • You have a history of the condition
    • You do not follow proper hygiene
    • You use expired eye makeup
    • You wear lenses
    • You have any medical conditions associated with eyes
    • You have certain medical conditions such as diabetes, seborrheic dermatitis


    Your doctor may be able to diagnose the condition just by having a look. To examine your eyes and eyelids closely, your doctor may even use light and magnifying devices.


    In most cases, a stye does not require any treatment. It heals on its own.

    The condition is treated using simple home remedies like using a warm compress. Your doctor may even recommend following good hygiene.

    However, if the condition persists or turns painful, your doctor may recommend treatment. The treatment for stye mainly comprises medications, antibiotic cream, or eye drops. Your doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics to relieve pain and have a quick recovery. If the condition persists or takes a longer time to heal, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic cream or eye drops.

    If the stye does not heal even with antibiotics, your doctor may recommend surgical procedure. In this procedure, the surgeon will make a small incision on the affected area and remove the pus.

    If the stye is left untreated, it may cause other conditions associated with eyes such as a Meibomian cyst or periorbital cellulitis. A meibomian cyst is a condition that occurs when a cyst occurs in the oil gland of the eyelid. Periorbital cellulitis, also referred to as preseptal cellulitis, is a condition that occurs when an infection spreads to nearby areas of the eye. In this condition, the skin around your eye turns red and swollen.

    Lifestyle changes

    • Do not pop or squeeze the stye. You may have a strong urge to touch or squeeze the infected eye. But do not touch it as it may cause the infection to spread.
    • Avoid touching the affected eyes or eyelids frequently. It may cause infection.
    • Avoid applying any makeup until the condition recovers completely. Make sure you do not use the same cosmetics for a long period. Discard cosmetics immediately after its expiry date. Do not share your cosmetics with anyone.
    • Do not wear contact lenses until the stye recovers completely. Once it heals completely, make sure you follow good hygiene while using lenses. Clean your hands properly before using lenses. Disinfect lenses at regular intervals as recommended by your doctor.
    • If you have a history of eye infection, consult your doctor and understand things to do and things to avoid to prevent infection.

    Home Remedies

    In most cases, a stye does not require medical intervention. Certain home remedies are helpful to treat the condition. Some of the home remedies you may consider include:

    • Using a warm compress is the most effective way to treat a stye.
    • Soak a clean cloth in warm water and gently place it on your infected eye.
    • Repeat the procedure four to five times a day. The warmth of the compress helps in quick recovery.

    If you have any conditions associated with eyes or have a frequent stye, it is advised to consult your doctor before trying any home remedy.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Victor Paulino, MD, DPBO

    Ophthalmology · Makati Medical Center

    Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Aug 24, 2022

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