Stye (Hordeolum)

Overview of Stye (Hordeolum)

Stye is the development of fluid-filled (pus) swelling on the edge of your eyelid often filled with pus. It can form on the outside as well as the inside of the eyelid. Over time, the stye may become yellow, releasing its pus and eventually disappearing which is why immediate medical attention may not be required at times. However, if your stye persists for more than a week then it might affect your vision and make it necessary to seek medical attention.

Styes rarely affects both eyes together. Most of the time, one or more styles develop on one eye only.

Are Styes Contagious?

Chances of stye infection transferring from one person to another are very rare. Therefore, making it non-contagious. However, if you poke someone’s eye and rub your own eye right afterward, you might develop a stye. 




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Signs and Symptoms of Stye (Hordeolum)

If the stye develops on the outside of the eyelid, the symptoms are very noticeable. You will see a small reddish pimple on the eyelid. Other symptoms that may appear are:

  • Swelling of the eyelid
  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Itching of the eye
  • Blurry vision
  • Discharge of mucus from the eye
  • Tearing

Types of Stye (Hordeolum)

There are two kinds of stye: hordeolum and chalazion. They differ on the basis of their cause as well as treatment. 

Hordeolum involves the blockage of sweat glands found in the skin of the eyelids and the base of the eyelashes. External hordeolum develops on the outer edge of the eyelid. Internal hordeolum develops on the inside of the eyelid. A hordeolum might take a few days to disappear.

Chalazion involves the blockage of a special oil gland, the meibomian gland, which is found along the length of the eyelid. Unlike hordeolum, chalazion may take months to subside. 

Causes of Stye (Hordeolum)

Stye is caused by the blockage of a gland around the eyelid. The blockage may be due to the presence of scar tissue, makeup, or thickened mucus produced by the gland itself.


Risk Factors of Stye (Hordeolum)

There are plenty of factors that can increase the likelihood of your developing styes.

  • Usage of expired cosmetic products
  • Not removing eye makeup before going to bed
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Not washing hands before applying contact lens

It is therefore advisable to discard eye cosmetics that have already expired. Moreover, to be very particular about hygiene while dealing with contact lenses. This involves disinfecting your contacts before and after usage, and making sure your hands are clean before applying the lens.





The symptoms associated with stye make it easy to diagnose. In addition to that, your doctor may look for any signs of blockage of the glands such as the presence of scar tissue or excessive mucus.

Treatment of Stye (Hordeolum) | When to Consult a Doctor

Normally, styes disappear over time. However, if they persist and turn out to be painful, certain treatment measures should be considered in this regard.


  • A warm compress gently pressed against the eye for 10-15 minutes

  • Pain relievers such as ibuprofen

  • In case the stye becomes very painful, removal of pus from the stye through a needle by a professional doctor. Do not attempt popping the stye yourself as it may lead to chances of infection or further complications. 

  • In case the stye persists, the application of antibiotic ointment or antibiotic eye drops.

  • In case of no interventions are effective enough, the stye is surgically removed by creating an incision on the inner or outer surface of the eyelid, depending on where the stye is located, and the pus is then drained out. After completion, the incision is then closed up. This is done by an ophthalmologist and involves local anesthesia.

Best Home Remedy for Stye?

One home remedy that can help you relieve pain associated with styes is applying a warm-water compress on the affected area of the eyelid. Use a clean, wet, warm cloth and compress it against your eye for 10-15 minutes. Not only will this alleviate the pain but also may help in draining the pus away which will eventually lead to the symptoms disappearing. 

However, if you feel you have symptoms like that of stye you should refer to a certified ophthalmologist near you.