Stye What is a stye?A stye (hordeolum) is a tender red bump on the edge of your eyelid. What causes a stye? A stye happens when a gland on the edge of your eyelid gets infected. The infection is most often caused by a bacteria or germ called staph (Staphylococcus aureus). Who is at risk for a stye? You are more likely to get a stye if you: Have had one before Wear contact lenses Are not keeping your eye area clean Use eye makeup Have other eye conditions such as an inflamed or infected eyelid (blepharitis). What are the symptoms of a stye? Each person’s symptoms may vary. Symptoms may include: Swelling, redness, pain, or tenderness of the eyelid Feeling like there is something in your eye Being bothered by bright light Tearing of the eye The symptoms of a stye may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure. How is a stye diagnosed? In most cases your health care provider will be able to tell that you have a stye by looking at it. You will not need to take any tests. How is a stye treated? In most cases a stye will go away on its own. There are some things you can do to treat the stye at home. These include: Putting a warm, wet cloth (compress) on your eyelid for 5 to 10 minutes. This should be done 2 to 3 times a day. Washing your hands often Washing your face daily, including the eye area Not touching the area Not squeezing the stye Not wearing makeup until the infection heals Your health care provider may also: Give you special bacteria-fighting (antibiotic) creams or ointments to put on the area. Only certain ones are safe to use near your eyes. Refer you to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) if the stye does not go away. What can I do to prevent a stye? To prevent a stye, you should: Wash your hands often Wash your face and eye area Be careful when using and removing eye makeup Your health care provider may also suggest that you use a gentle baby shampoo to carefully clean the eye area. When should I call my health care provider? Call your health care provider if you: Notice redness or swelling of your eyelid Have pain in your eyelid Feel like something is in your eye Key points about styes A stye (hordeolum) is a tender red bump on the edge of the eyelid. It is an infection of a gland of the eyelid. The infection is most often caused by bacteria called staph (Staphylococcus aureus). The most common symptoms are redness and swelling of the eyelid. In most cases a stye will go away on its own. Next stepsTips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider: Before your visit, write down questions you want answered. Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you. At the visit, write down the names of new medicines, treatments, or tests, and any new instructions your provider gives you. If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit. Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions. Medical Reviewers: Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP Holloway, Beth, RN, M.Ed.