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What is a hordeolum?

A hordeolum, also known as a stye, is an inflammation of part of the eyelid.


The following are the most common symptoms of a stye:

  • Swelling of the eyelid
  • Redness at the edge of the eyelid
  • Pain over the affected area
  • Tenderness
  • A painful sense that there are small particles in the eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Tearing of the eye

The symptoms of a stye may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.


A stye is caused by a skin infection at the edge of the eyelid or underneath the eyelid. The infection is usually caused by bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus.

Types of treatment

A stye will typically go away on its own, rupturing and draining after two to seven days. Treatment may include:

  • Applying warm, wet compresses on the eye for approximately five to ten minutes, two to three times throughout the day
  • Refraining from squeezing or rubbing the stye
  • Washing your hands frequently
  • Antibiotic ointments for the eye (this does not make the stye go away faster, but it can help to stop the spread of the infection to other parts of the eye)
  • Washing your face daily, including the eye
  • Refraining from wearing makeup until the infection heals
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