Stye is a localized infection in the eyelid that causes a tender ,red bump near the edge of eyelids. In other words, stye is inflammation of the eyelid which is associated with a collection of pus in eyelids. It can form in the lower or upper eyelid.Mostly, this is caused by Staphylococcus bacteria. 

Basically, the stye is red and quite painful which makes the eye produce more tears. It looks like a boil or pimple. Most of the stye form on the outside of the eyelid but may develop on the inside too.

Stye can happen when glands along the eyelid are clogged or irritated. An individual usually has styes in one eye but sometimes it can happen in both eyes at the same time. 

Generally, there are two types of Styes; Hordeolum and Chalazion. Hordeolum is a blockage of one of the sweat glands that is present in the skin of the lid and base of eyelashes. Chalazion is due to blockage of meibomian glands( tiny oil glands which are present along the edge of the eyelids). 

Furthermore, styes can be painful but often heal without any medical intervention. But if in case it persists for more than a week or affects vision then medical intervention is required.


Basically, stye is caused by staphylococcal bacteria which is found in the nose. It will transfer to an individual eye once if he/she rubs the nose and eyes simultaneously. 

Furthermore, bacteria causes infection or inflammation of eyelash follicle and oil glands. And then drain through ducts into eyelashes. 

Then when the ducts are clogged, oil can’t drain properly. As a result of which glands become inflamed or swell and cause styes. 

What are the risk factors of developing stye?

Stye is common to all but mostly you are more prone to get it if you- 

  • have a stye before also. 
  • have blepharitis (inflammation of eyelids)
  • lacks care and maintenance of contact lenses during insertion and removal. 
  • do not remove cosmetics before going to bed.
  • dry skin and skin conditions such as acne rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis. 
  • have a high lipid level.
  • have diabetes.
  • are experiencing hormonal changes. 

In a family, if someone gets stye then other members should not share common towels or cloths. 

What are the signs and symptoms ?

Signs of stye include the following.

  1. Swelling of the eyelid.
  2. Presence of a lump or red bump on the edge of eyelids.
  3. Puffy appearance of the eyelids.

Similarly, Symptoms includes – 

  1. Basically while blinking, there might be foreign body sensation.
  1. Pain, Redness
  1. Burning sensation 
  1. Droopiness of the eyelids.
  1. May be blurred vision if thick pus or discharge spreads over the eyes.
  1. Itching 
  1. Watery eyes
  1. Light sensitivity 

If stye persists for more than a week and vision problems are seen then an individual should visit eye hospital or eye centers for medical intervention. 

How can you diagnose stye?

Eye care professionals will diagnose stye by visual examination of eyelids. 

They will first ask symptoms that you are facing. Eye specialists will first examine eyelids to locate the opening of plugged glands to distinguish between hordeolum and chalazion.

Furthermore, specialists will look for any signs that the gland may have become infected. Similarly, eye care professionals will examine signs of scar tissue, foreign bodies and underlying chronic meibomitis. 

What are the complications ?

Basically , complications are rare but sometimes may be seen . 

Meibomian cyst or chalazion : If someone has stye for a long period of time (internal stye) then this can develop or progress into chalazion or meibomian cyst. This may cause cosmetic deformity, corneal irritation and may require surgical procedure to remove. 

Preseptal Cellulitis: In case if the infection that causes stye spreads over the eye, it can cause preseptal cellulitis. 

What are the treatment options? 

Usually, stye go away on its own in a few days without any treatment. However, it can be treated at home also with self care. Sometimes medical intervention is required. One can follow the following steps so as to treat stye.

  • Apply warm compression gently against the eye for 10 to 15 minutes, 3 to 4 times in a day. 

Compression not only eases discomfort, it may help the pus to drain away. Once after pus drains away, symptoms will normally improve. 

  • Take pain relievers such as ibuprofen if the stye is particularly sore. Avoid touching stye. 
  • If external stye appears to be painful then eye care professionals may need to remove eyelash nearby and drain the pus.
  • Specialists may prescribe topical antibiotic eye drop or ointment if stye persists. In case if infection spreads beyonds eyelids then oral antibiotics may be required. 
  • Prevent applying any eye makeups until sties gone away. 
  • If you are a contact lens wearer, stop wearing it and better switch to glasses until it’s gone.
  • If there is chalazion then it should be incised and drained. For this procedure, eyelid is anesthetized.

The risk of recurrence of chalazion is there if the underlying cause is not identified properly. 

Treatment of underlying cause of stye is quite important so as to prevent recurrence. 


As discussed, stye is inflammation of eyelids in which a small red bump (looks like pimple or boil) appears on the upper or lower eyelids. Most of the time, they are minor and can be treated at home but need to be careful. Consult an eye doctor in time. 

You can follow the following tips so as to prevent sties.

  • Best way to prevent stye is to keep eyelids and eyelashes clean. 
  • Make sure you wash off makeup before going to bed everyday.
  • Manage blepharitis in time. Clean your eyelids with baby shampoo.
  • If you are a contact lens user, make sure you follow care and maintenance properly.
  • Avoid rubbing eyes. 

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