Skip to main content

Meibomian Gland Disease

Meibomian Gland Disease

What is a stye? — A stye is a red and painful lump on the eyelid. It happens when a small gland on the edge of the eyelid gets infected or inflamed. Styes can occur on the upper or lower eyelids. Most styes get better on their own after a few days to a week. Another word for stye is "hordeolum."
People sometimes get a stye confused with a different eye problem called a "chalazion." A chalazion also causes a lump on the eyelid. But a stye is caused by an infection and is painful. A chalazion is not tender or painful, but it often lasts longer than a stye does.
What are the symptoms of a stye? — People who have a stye have a red and painful lump on the edge of their eyelid (picture 1). A stye usually develops over a few days. It can look like a pimple. Styes can cause other symptoms, too, such as tearing and eyelid pain and swelling.
Is there a test for a stye? — No. But your doctor or nurse should be able to tell if you have a stye by talking with you and doing an exam.
Is there anything I can do on my own to feel better? — Yes. To ease your symptoms and help your stye get better, you can put a warm, wet compress on the stye. Wet a clean washcloth with warm water and put it over your stye. When the washcloth cools, reheat it with warm water and put it back over the stye. Repeat these steps for about 15 minutes, and try to do this 4 times a day.
You should not squeeze or pop your stye. This can make it worse. Also, you should not wear eye makeup or contact lenses until your stye is all better.
Should I see a doctor or nurse? — See your doctor or nurse if:
Your stye doesn't go away after using warm compresses for 1 to 2 weeks
Your stye gets very big, bleeds, or affects your vision
Your whole eye is red, or your whole eyelid is red and swollen
The redness or swelling spreads to your cheek or other parts of your face
What treatments might my doctor use? — If your stye doesn't get better or if it leads to other problems, your doctor might:
Prescribe a cream or ointment that goes in the eye and on the eyelid
Prescribe antibiotic medicines
Do a procedure to drain the stye
Can styes be prevented? — Yes. To lower your chances of getting a stye, you can:
Wash your hands often – It's especially important to wash your hands before you touch your eyes. Also, if you wear contact lenses, keep them clean and wash your hands before you put them in.
Be careful with your eye makeup – Wearing eye makeup can sometimes cause a stye. Remove your eye makeup each night, and throw away old makeup. Do not share eye makeup with other people.
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Mar 30, 2020.
Topic 16336 Version 15.0
Release: 28.2.2 - C28.105
© 2020 UpToDate, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

Name

Stye (Hordeolum)

Body systems

Emergency Medicine,Ocular

The Basics

Written by the doctors and editors at UpToDate
What is a stye? — A stye is a red and painful lump on the eyelid. It happens when a small gland on the edge of the eyelid gets infected or inflamed. Styes can occur on the upper or lower eyelids. Most styes get better on their own after a few days to a week. Another word for stye is "hordeolum."
People sometimes get a stye confused with a different eye problem called a "chalazion." A chalazion also causes a lump on the eyelid. But a stye is caused by an infection and is painful. A chalazion is not tender or painful, but it often lasts longer than a stye does.
What are the symptoms of a stye? — People who have a stye have a red and painful lump on the edge of their eyelid (picture 1). A stye usually develops over a few days. It can look like a pimple. Styes can cause other symptoms, too, such as tearing and eyelid pain and swelling.
Is there a test for a stye? — No. But your doctor or nurse should be able to tell if you have a stye by talking with you and doing an exam.
Is there anything I can do on my own to feel better? — Yes. To ease your symptoms and help your stye get better, you can put a warm, wet compress on the stye. Wet a clean washcloth with warm water and put it over your stye. When the washcloth cools, reheat it with warm water and put it back over the stye. Repeat these steps for about 15 minutes, and try to do this 4 times a day.
You should not squeeze or pop your stye. This can make it worse. Also, you should not wear eye makeup or contact lenses until your stye is all better.
Should I see a doctor or nurse? — See your doctor or nurse if:
Your stye doesn't go away after using warm compresses for 1 to 2 weeks
Your stye gets very big, bleeds, or affects your vision
Your whole eye is red, or your whole eyelid is red and swollen
The redness or swelling spreads to your cheek or other parts of your face
What treatments might my doctor use? — If your stye doesn't get better or if it leads to other problems, your doctor might:
Prescribe a cream or ointment that goes in the eye and on the eyelid
Prescribe antibiotic medicines
Do a procedure to drain the stye
Can styes be prevented? — Yes. To lower your chances of getting a stye, you can:
Wash your hands often – It's especially important to wash your hands before you touch your eyes. Also, if you wear contact lenses, keep them clean and wash your hands before you put them in.
Be careful with your eye makeup – Wearing eye makeup can sometimes cause a stye. Remove your eye makeup each night, and throw away old makeup. Do not share eye makeup with other people.
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Mar 30, 2020.
Topic 16336 Version 15.0
Release: 28.2.2 - C28.105
© 2020 UpToDate, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

What are other common names?

External Hordeolum,Hordeolum,Internal Hordeolum,Meibomian Stye,Zeisian Stye

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. This is only a brief summary of general information. It does NOT include all information about conditions, illnesses, injuries, tests, procedures, treatments, therapies, discharge instructions or life-style choices that may apply to you. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about your health and treatment options. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to accept your health care provider's advice, instructions or recommendations. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to provide advice that is right for you.The use of UpToDate content is governed by the UpToDate Terms of Use. ©2020 UpToDate, Inc. All rights reserved.

Copyright

© 2020 UpToDate, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

New! No Prescription? No problem.

Affordable Online Care is here! Answer a few questions about your concern and receive a treatment plan in as little as 15 minutes, from a board-certified provider, 100% online.

Learn more
Illustration of a prescription hand off from one mobile phone to another