Hordeolum (Styes)

What is a stye or hordeolum?

A small area of redness and pain or a bump on the margin of your eyelid may indicate that you have a stye, known in medical terms as an external hordeolum. A stye is a blocked gland at the edge of the lid that has become infected by bacteria, usually Staphylococcus aureus.

What is the treatment for a stye?

The area of redness and pain will eventually come to a head and be expressed. For this to occur, warm compresses, such as a clean wash cloth should be applied to the area for 15 minutes, three to four times a day. The compresses should be followed by the application of sulphonamide or antibiotic ointment to the stye, available by prescription. Check with your optometrist.

Once the stye has come to a head, it can usually be expressed (squeezed gently to empty its contents), after which the lids should be gently cleaned. Treatment with the ointment should be continued until symptoms have cleared. Sometimes, if the stye is large or under the lid (known as an internal hordeolum), it is necessary for the stye to be lanced to assist with expression of the mucous.