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Internal stye picture: Pictures of Styes and Chalazia in Your Eye

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Stye (Hordeolum and Chalazion) in Adults: Condition, Treatments, and Pictures – Overview

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Images of Hordeolum (Stye) and Chalazion

Overview

A stye (hordeolum) is a local, acutely inflamed growth (swelling, lesion) of the eyelid. They can occur at the lid margin or farther up the lid on either the inner (tarsal) side or the outer (skin) side of the lid. A chalazion is the chronic form of a stye, and its cellular makeup is different than that of a stye.

Both the meibomian and sebaceous oil glands of the lid can be involved in this process, which begins with a blockage of the normal openings of these glands, leading to the swelling. Typically, there is bacterial contamination.

Who’s at risk?

Styes and chalazions are extremely common. You are more likely to have this problem if you have:

  • Dry skin problems
  • Blepharitis
  • Acne rosacea
  • Poor lid hygiene
  • Incomplete removal of eye makeup
  • Outdated or infected cosmetics
  • Increased stress
  • Hormonal changes

Signs and Symptoms

One should be suspicious of having a stye when there is the rather rapid development of a pus-filled bump (pustule) or swelling on the edge of the eyelid or on the lid itself. Chalazions are more of a rounded lump and are harder in consistency.

Some of the things you may experience include:

  • Pain
  • Redness of the eye
  • Discharge from the swelling
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Tearing
  • Very mild blurring of vision
  • Burning sensation
  • Scratchy feeling in the eye
  • Drooping of the eyelid
  • Crusting of the eyelid edges

Self-Care Guidelines

Apply frequent (4–6 times daily) very warm compresses until there is no more drainage from the stye or chalazion. The compresses must be hot enough to help drain the growth yet not so hot as to burn the very delicate eyelid skin. It usually takes 7–10 days, at most, for the problem to resolve. Good lid hygiene is also mandatory. Over-the-counter ointments or drops have no treatment value.

Note: Recurring styes or chalazions without other related factors suggest possible serious disease. With the start of very warm compresses, the growth may get larger temporarily before draining.

When to Seek Medical Care

You should seek medical advice if:

  • The eyelids are swollen shut.
  • There is no improvement after using frequent very warm compresses for 10–14 days.
  • There is pus or very thick drainage from the eye.
  • Pain or tenderness is increasing despite compresses.
  • The swelling is increasing beyond the first 2–3 days.
  • The eyelid is hot to the touch.
  • You develop a fever.
  • Recurrences are frequent, especially at the same location.
  • Progressive vision changes are experienced, including double vision.

Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe

Treatment may involve any or all of the following:

  • Surgical incision and drainage
  • Injection of steroid into the growth
  • Antibiotic ointments
  • Antibiotic drops
  • Oral antibiotics (especially if there is possible lid infection suspected)
  • Treatment for underlying/contributing conditions such as dandruff, acne rosacea, psoriasis, etc.

Trusted Links

MedlinePlus: Eye Diseases
MedlinePlus: Eyelid Disorders
Clinical Information and Differential Diagnosis of Hordeolum (Stye) and Chalazion

References

Kanski JJ, Nischal KK, eds. Ophthalmology: Clinical Signs and Differential Diagnosis. pp. 17, 91. Philadelphia: Mosby, 1999.

Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 2nd ed, pp. 708-709. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, 2004.

Sty/Stye (Hordeolum): Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

Overview

A sty is a red, painful bump that forms either on or inside the eyelid near the edge of the eyelashes.

What is a sty?

A sty (sometimes spelled “stye”) is a red, painful bump that forms either on or inside the eyelid near the edge of the eyelashes. A sty that appears on the outside of the upper or lower eyelid, the more usual location, is called an external sty. A sty that appears on the inside of the upper or lower eyelid is called an internal sty. A sty can look like an acne pimple.

The medical term for a sty is a hordeolum.

A sty is similar to another bump that occurs in the eyelid called a chalazion. A chalazion is a bump that usually occurs farther back on the eyelid. Unlike a sty, a chalazion is usually not painful and is not caused by a bacterial infection. Instead, a chalazion occurs when the opening of the oil-producing glands in the eyelid becomes clogged. Treatment for both conditions, however, is similar.

Symptoms and Causes

What causes a sty?

A sty is caused by a bacterial infection in the oil-producing glands in the eyelid. Oil-producing glands line the eyelids and help lubricate the surface of the eye.

What are the signs and symptoms of a sty?

Signs and symptoms of a sty include:

  • Painful red bump along the edge of the upper or lower eyelid near the base of the eyelashes
  • Swelling of the eyelid (sometimes the entire eyelid)
  • Crusting along the eyelid
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Sore, scratchy eye
  • Tearing of the eye
  • A feeling that there is something in the eye

Diagnosis and Tests

How is a sty diagnosed?

A sty is usually diagnosed by a visual exam of the eyelid.

What are the risk factors for developing a sty?

Styes are very common. Anyone can get a sty. However, you may be more likely to get a sty if you:

  • Have had a sty before
  • Have blepharitis (an inflammation of the eyelids)
  • Have certain skin conditions, such as acne rosacea or seborrheic dermatitits
  • Have diabetes
  • Have dry skin
  • Are experiencing hormonal changes
  • Have high lipid levels (“bad” cholesterol)

Management and Treatment

What are the treatments for a sty?

A sty usually will disappear on its own in a few days. However, to reduce the pain and swelling, a sty can be treated at home with self care. Treat as follows:

  • Apply a warm washcloth to the eyelid. Apply for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, 3 to 5 times a day. Rewarm washcloth as needed by soaking it in warm water. Wring out excess water, then reapply to the eyelid.
  • Gently wipe away eyelid drainage with mild soap such as Johnson’s baby shampoo and water, or eyelid wipes (available in drug stores).

Also follow these tips:

  • Do not squeeze or pop a sty.
  • Do not rub or touch your eyelid.
  • Do not wear makeup or contact lenses until the area has fully healed.

A sty that does not improve within 48 hours of self care may require medical treatment by a doctor. Treatments given by doctors include:

  • In-office incision (under local anesthesia) to drain the sty
  • Antibiotic ointment to apply to the eyelid or antibiotic eye drops. Sometimes antibiotic pills are prescribed if there is infection of the area surrounding the eye or after incision and drainage of an internal sty.
  • Steroid injection into the sty to reduce the swelling in the eyelid

Prevention

Can styes be prevented?

The best way to prevent a sty is by practicing good hygiene around your face and eyes, including:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often and especially before touching your face and eyes.
  • Wash your hands before and after removing contact lenses. Clean contacts with disinfectant and lens cleaning solution. Discard daily wear or other “limited use” lenses on the schedule recommended by your eye doctor.
  • Wash your face to remove dirt and/or makeup before going to bed.
  • Throw away all old or expired makeup. Replace mascara and eye shadow every 2 to 3 months. Never share or use another person’s makeup.

Living With

When should I see my eye doctor about a sty?

See your eye doctor if:

  • Your eye is swollen shut due to the swelling in the eyelid
  • Pus or blood is leaking from the bump
  • Pain and/or swelling increases after the first 2 to 3 days
  • Blisters have formed on your eyelid
  • Your eyelid feels hot
  • Your vision has changed
  • Styes keep recurring. If this happens, a biopsy (a small piece of the sty) may need to be taken to rule out other more serious problems.

Eye Stye | Causes and Treatment

What is an eye stye?