Stye

A stye is a common and acute bacterial infection of the sebaceous and sweat glands in the eyelid.

Overview

A stye is a common and acute bacterial infection of the sebaceous and sweat glands in the eyelid. Usually, a painful red swelling quickly develops, either on or inside the eyelid or around the eye. Most styes resolve spontaneously. Never squeeze and try to burst a stye yourself.

Symptoms

  • Small, painful and inflamed red lump on the eyelid
  • Lump is filled with pus
    • Can spontaneously drain after a few days
    • The inflammation will then clear up
  • Complications:

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Acute bacterial infection of the sebaceous and/or sweat glands of the eyelids
  • Caused by skin germs: usually staphylococcus, sometimes streptococcus
  • Risk factors

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • External examination of the eye
Possible therapies
  • Antibiotics
    • Antibiotic eye drops (topical application)
    • For abscess/severe inflammation: antibiotics in tablet form or intravenously
  • Treatment with heat and infrared light
    • Moist warm compresses aren't recommended (can worsen the infection)
  • Opening of abscess under local anaesthetic

What can I do myself?

  • Hand hygiene
    • Children: wash the hands often, in particular after playing outside
  • If a child in the family has contracted the infection, the following hygiene measures should be followed:
    • All family members should wash their hands often
    • Each person should use their own towel
    • Don't squeeze the stye as this will worsen the situation

When to see a doctor?

  • Entire eyelid is swollen
  • Additional symptoms such as feeling ill, headaches, fever or swollen lymph nodes
  • Growing pressure pain because the pus doesn't drain
  • People who wear contact lenses should always consult a doctor if they have an infection affecting the eyes

Synonyms

stye, hordeolum

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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