Stye (Hordeolum)

What is a stye (hordeolum)?

A hordeolum, more commonly known as a stye, is an inflammation of part of the eyelash.

  • Styes are seen more often in children than adults.
  • A stye is caused by an infection in the oil-producing sebaceous or sweat glands in the eyelid.
  • Treatment may include applying warm, wet compresses or antibiotic ointments, or having your child wash his or her face daily and refrain from wearing make-up until the infection heals.

What causes a stye?

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

What are the symptoms of a stye?

Each child may experience symptoms differently, but the most common symptoms of a stye include:

  • swelling of the eyelid
  • redness at the edge of the eyelid
  • pain over the affected area
  • tenderness

Because the symptoms of a stye may resemble other conditions or medical problems, you should always consult your child's physician 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.

How is a stye treated?

Treatment may include:

  • applying warm, wet compresses to your child's eye for 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
  • applying antibiotic ointments for the eye, which doesn't make the stye go away faster but can help stop the spread of the infection to other parts of the eye
  • having your child wash his or her face daily, including the eye
  • having your child refrain from wearing make-up until the infection heals