What is a stye?

A stye (also known as hordeolum) is a pimple-like bump, caused by infection, which develops on the rim of the eyelid. Styes can also grow on the inside of the eyelid, but this is less common. They're often a result of repeated infections of blepharitis or by improper hygiene. Most people may get one or two styes over the course of their lives, but some people get them repeatedly. Usually the condition clears up on its own within a few days.
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.
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.
A stye is an inflamed oil gland on your eyelid. The gland can become infected by bacteria from your skin and cause the swelling. 

Continue Learning about Bacterial Eye Infections

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.