Bacterial Eye Infections

What is a stye?

A Answers (4)

  • A sty is a relatively common bacterial infection near the root of the eyelash. It looks and feels like a pimple as it is red and filled with pus. Sties usually start and resolve within 1 or 2 days.

    This common infection usually develops near the root (follicle) of an eyelash. You may have more than one sty at a time or several in succession.

    A sty starts as an itchy or painful swelling on the eyelid. Your eye will be red and you will have tearing and blurred vision. It may feel as if something is under your eyelid.

    You can find good relief with applications of warm compresses for 5 minutes, several times a day. This helps to decrease inflammation and pain from the sty. When the sty comes to a head

    and bursts on its own, clean your eye with damp cotton balls and throw them away to avoid re-infection.

    If the sty is swollen after a few days or is painful and affects your vision, call your doctor. Your doctor may need to lance the sty to drain the infection.
  • AHealthwise answered

    A stye is an infection in the tiny oil glands that surround the base of each eyelash along the edge of the eyelid. A stye begins as a red, tender bump, and looks like a small pimple.

    A stye usually comes to a head (clear or yellow fluid collects in the stye) in about 3 days, after which it breaks open and drains and heals in about a week. Though the cause of a stye is often unknown, it can develop from rubbing the eyes or using products near the eyelid that can irritate the eye, both of which can transfer bacteria to the skin and cause infection.

    Usually, home treatment is all that is needed to treat a stye. This includes not wearing eye makeup or contact lenses; letting the stye break open by itself; applying warm, wet compresses to the eye area; and using nonprescription medicines.

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. To learn more visit

    © Healthwise, Incorporated.

  • A stye — also called a hordeolum (pronounced hordee-OH-lum) — often appears as a red, sore lump near the edge of the eyelid. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection. A stye will develop at the base of an eyelash if the eyelash follicle (root) is infected. This is usually called an external hordeolum.

    A stye will also develop if there is an infection in one of the tiny lubricating oil glands (called meibomian glands) inside or under the eyelid. When this occurs, it is usually called an internal hordeolum. A stye can also be caused by widespread inflammation (swelling) of the eyelid from blepharitis, a condition that affects the eyelid margins.

  • AKaren L. Gorton, PhD, MS, RN, Emergency Room Nursing, answered on behalf of Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
    A stye is an inflamed oil gland on your eyelid. The gland can become infected by bacteria from your skin and cause the swelling. 
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