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What is stye?

A stye or hordeolum is an infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes. While they produce no lasting damage, they can be quite painful.



The first signs are tenderness, pain, and redness in the affected area. Later symptoms that arise include swelling, watering of the eye, sensitivity to light, and discomfort during blinking. A yellowish bump develops in the affected area.



Most styes will drain on their own though this may be accelerated with a hot or warm compress, or by pulling out the eyelash. Styes typically resolve within 1 week with treatment. While a stye is technically a pimple and can be popped, doing so is not recommended without technical expertise due to their proximity to the eye. Styes may also cause a bruising feeling around the eye which can be treated with a warm cloth.

Medical professionals will sometimes lance a particularly persistent or irritating stye with a needle, to accelerate its draining. A stye's spread or expansion can also be fought with the use of antibiotic ointment akin to Neosporin (e.g. Erythromycin ophthalmic ointment), a special version being available for styes, which can be applied in a ribbon along the lid, on either in or outside. Medical professionals may also prescribe Amoxicillin for over a period of a week.

If a stye bursts care must be taken to cleanse the wound to prevent reinfection.

Contact lenses should never be worn during treatment for a stye. Eye makeup is not recommended.

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