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Eye Styes

A “hordeolum” or a “stye”, is defined as a red bump which has the appearance of a pimple and it’s formation takes place on the outside edge of the eyelid.


  • It originates due to the occurrence of a bacterial infection in a hair follicle on one’s eyelid.
  • Staphylococcus is a form of bacteria, which forms it’s Inhabitat on one’s skin and when it gets relocated to one’s eye, it becomes persistently stuck in the hair follicle, thereby resulting in an infection.
  • Styes are contagious but have been usually found to be harmless.
  • If a style is present for a long period, then there will be an occurrence of other eye ailments.

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Eye styes

A Stye can also be defined, as an inflammation of the eyelid caused by a small collection of pus. Most often, the infection is caused by Staphylococcus bacteria. It can happen at the base of the eyelash (external hordeolum) or inside one of the small oil glands, which are present within the eyelid (internal hordeolum). The lump is red and painful and looks like a boil or pimple. Although most Eye Styes develop on the outside of the eyelid. In some extremely peculiar cases, a stye may appear on the inside of the eye.

Although common and extremely distressing, styes are generally not a cause for concern.

Some salient things one should know about Eye Styes have been mentioned below:

  • The first signs of the occurrence of a stye are pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness.
  • A noticeable fact about styes is that they don’t cause any vision problems.
  • Styes are caused by Staphylococcal bacteria, which has its presence in the nasal section of the human body.
  • They are infectious.
  • Most styes heal on their own.
  • Do not attempt to “pop” a Stye, as it can lead to severe repercussions.
  • If the presence of a Stye, has been for more than 1 week or if the style has started to affect a person’s vision, then an eye specialist must be consulted immediately.
  • Styes are found to be generally affecting, one eye at a time.
  • Eye Styes can be external or internal.
  • A stye can recur.

Causes of Eye Styes

Usually, the lump of the “Eye Stye” is a combination of a clogged oil gland and the bacteria. Our body has billions of friendly bacteria, which live right along with us on our skin surface. Most of the time, they do not cause any inconvenience. But sometimes, the bacteria may overproduce and create a pimple, due to the generation of some particular situations.

The risk of developing an “eye stye”, elevates under the following conditions:

  • Usage of cosmetics after their expiry dates, can not only cause the development of stye but also severe other ailments of the eye.
  • If eye makeup has not been removed properly before going to sleep, then also there can occurrence of a stye.
  • Negligence in properly disinfecting the contact lenses before wearing them.
  • Handling contact lenses, without proper sanitization of hands.
  • If a person hasn’t been eating nutritional food, then also a stye can form on the eye.
  • Sleep deprivation has always been a consistent cause for the formation of a stye.
  • Adolescents tend to have Eye Styes more frequently, but people of any age can develop them.

Methods to avoid the formation of an “Eye Stye”

  • If someone nearby has an Eye Stye, then the people in the nearby vicinity, should not share face towels, etc. to minimize the risk of cross-infection.
  • A person must regularly wash their hands while using contact lenses.
  • A person with allergies of any kind must avoid rubbing their eyes.
  • Maintain cleanliness on the face.


The patient will have a painfully small red lump, on the eyelid which can make the eye(s) produce tears and become red. Sometimes it can also look like a pimple.

Eye Styes have a tendency of rarely affecting both eyes at the same time. A person will generally have a Stye in one eye. However, on rare occasions, there may be more than one Stye in the same eye or one in each eye.

Symptoms of Eye Styes can Include:

  • A lump on the eyelid,
  • Swelling of the eyelid,
  • Pain around the area of an eyelid.
  • Redness of an eyelid.
  • The edges of the eyelids taking the form of a crust.
  • Burning sensation around the eyelid.
  • Itching in the eye.
  • The occurrence of blurred vision.
  • Discharge of mucus from the eye.
  • Heightened sensitivity towards light.
  • The constant feeling of the presence of some particle in the eye.

Types of an “Eye Stye”

External Stye: It’s a form of stye, which forms at the base of the eyelash. This form of stye is generally not harmful if treated upon within a particular period. They can be caused by an infection in the following places:

  • Eyelash follicle: The tiny holes in the skin, out of which the eyelashes grow.
  • Sebaceous (Zeis) gland: This gland is attached to the follicles of the eyelashes. It produces Sebum. Sebum helps lubricate the eyelash and prevents them from drying out.
  • Apocrine (Moll) gland: This Apocrine gland also helps prevent eyelashes from drying out. It is a sweat gland, which is found on the eyelid’s margin.

Internal Eye Stye:- It’s a form of stye, which occurs inside the eyelid and causes severe discomfort. This type of stye is very painful and mostly requires immediate medical intervention. Most commonly, these are caused by an infection in the Meibomian gland. The purpose of these glands is to produce a secretion that makes up part of the film, which covers the eye.

Certain things may be experienced by the patients, such as a burning sensation in the eye, crusting of the eyelid edges, itchiness on the eyeball, sensitivity to light, tearing, a feeling that some particle is stuck to the eye, and severe form of distress during blinking.


  • A warm compress of a washcloth on the eye can be effective in most cases of Stye.
  • Most Eye Styes go away on their own without the need for any medical intervention. When they rupture, symptoms start to improve rapidly.
  • It is never recommended, to burst a stye by oneself.
  • The compress must be held gently over the eye, to ensure the ease of symptoms. It should not be too hot. Special care should be taken when preparing it for someone else, especially a child. The compress should be held over the eye for a period of 5 to 10 minutes and repeated at least thrice a day. Not only does the compress ease the discomfort, but it may also lead to bursting of the stye, thus causing the pus to drain away. Once the lump and the pus drain away, symptoms improve rapidly.
  • Pain relievers may be helpful if there is severe pain. Those available for purchase over the counter or online, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, are effective enough.
  • Usage of antibiotic ointments.
  • When an external stye becomes, extremely painful and has existed for a longer period, then the person must go to an eye specialist, who may remove the eyelash nearest to it, and drain the pus away by piercing it with a thin needle. This procedure should be carried out only by a professional.
  • If the stye persists, the Ophthalmologist may prescribe a topical antibiotic cream or antibiotic eye drops and if the infection spreads beyond the eyelid, oral antibiotics might be prescribed.
  • If things still do not improve, Further examination of the eye may be required.
  • It is advised not to apply eye makeup, lotions, or wear contact lenses until the stye has been completely terminated.


Though extremely rare, some complications may occur at times, which have been mentioned below:-

  • Meibomian Cyst: It is a cyst of the small glands, which is located in the eyelid. The glands release a fluid, called Sebum, on the edge of the eyelid. This acts as a lubricant for the eyelid. A persistent Stye on the inside of the eyelid can ultimately become a Meibomian Cyst or Chalazion. Especially if the gland has some obstruction. The Meibomian cyst is easily and effectively treatable.


  • Pre-septal or Periorbital Cellulitis: This may develop when the infection has spread, to the tissue around the eye. The layers of skin around the eye start becoming inflamed, making the eyelids go red and swollen. The treatment for this condition is antibiotics.

When to Consult a Doctor?

If one’s Stye:

  • is present on the inside of the eye.
  • has been getting bigger.
  • has become more painful.
  • has not cleared up, even after a few days of home treatment.
  • Has started to affect vision.

Also, consult a doctor if your eye styes keep re-occurring. That may be due to an underlying condition such as conjunctivitis, blepharitis, or cellulitis

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