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Published Date: 30-Nov-2008

Stye (Hordeolum)

What is a hordeolum (stye)?

A hordeolum, also known as a stye, is an inflammation or infection of the eyelid margin. This condition is seen more often in children than in adults.

What causes a stye?

A stye is caused by an infection in the sebaceous (oil producing) or sweat glands in the eyelid. The infection is usually caused by bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus.

What are the symptoms of a stye?

The following are the most common symptoms of a stye. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Swelling of the eyelid

  • Redness at the edge of the eyelid

  • Pain over the affected area (localized pain)

  • Tenderness

  • Drainage of yellow fluid

The symptoms of a stye may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's health care provider for a diagnosis.

How is a stye diagnosed?

A stye is usually diagnosed based on a complete medical history and physical examination of your child. Additional tests are not usually required to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of a stye

Specific treatment for a stye will be determined by your child's health care provider based on:

  • Your child's age, overall health, and medical history

  • Extent of the condition

  • Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the condition

  • Your opinion or preference

Treatment may include:

  • Applying warm, wet compresses on the child's eye for about a period of approximately 15 minutes, several times throughout the day

  • Instructing your child not to squeeze or rub the stye

  • Having your child wash his or her hands frequently

  • Antibiotic ointments for the eye as prescribed (this does not make the stye go away faster, but it can help to stop the spread of the infection to other parts of the eye)

  • Having your child wash his or her face daily, including the eye

  • Refraining from wearing makeup until the infection heals


Online Medical Reviewer: Bogus, William J., OD, FAAO
Online Medical Reviewer: Sather, Rita, RN
Last Review Date: 03/22/2013
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 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.
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