A stye (hordeolum) is a small, red, painful lump that forms at the base of an eyelash or under the eyelid.
There are two kinds of styes:
- External hordeolum
- Begins at the base of an eyelash
- Usually caused by an infection in the hair follicle
- Internal hordeolum
- Forms inside the eyelid
- Often caused by infection of an oil-producing gland in the eyelid
Home remedies can help relieve symptoms and help the stye go away more quickly, though it may not be possible to get rid of a stye in one day. It usually takes between three to five days for a stye to go away, though in some cases it can take a week or two.
Home treatment for a stye includes:
- Warm, wet compress
- Soak a clean washcloth in hot water and hold it to the eyelid for 10 to 15 minutes
- Use a compress three to five times each day
- Gently massage around the area of the stye with a clean finger to help the gland clear itself
If a stye doesn’t improve within 48 hours or symptoms worsen, see a doctor. Medical treatment for a stye includes:
- Antibiotics for infection
- A procedure to drain the stye
What Are Symptoms of a Stye?
Symptoms of a stye include:
- Red and painful lump on the edge of the eyelid
- Lump often develops over a few days
- May look like a pimple with a small pus spot at the center of the bump
- Tearing, watery eyes
- Feeling as if something is in the eye
- Scratchy feeling in the eye
- Eyelid swelling and pain
- Sensitivity to light
- Crustiness along the edge of the eyelid
What Causes a Stye?
Styes are usually caused by a bacterial infection, typically Staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococcus bacteria are normally found in the nose and do not cause any problems. However, in some cases, if the bacteria are present in the nose and a person rubs his or her nose and then the eye, this can result in an infection that causes a stye.
Risk factors for developing a stye include:
- Patients with underlying skin conditions affecting the eyelids, such as acne rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis
- Use of eye makeup, particularly eye makeup that is contaminated by bacteria, which can clog and inflame pores
- Blepharitis, a condition that causes swelling and redness of the eyelids at the base of the eyelashes
- Having a stye or chalazion before
- Diabetes and other medical problems
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