Bye, Stye!

August 29, 2019

That painful, red bump that pops up out of nowhere – could be a “stye.”

What is it?

A stye, medically referred as a “hordeolum”, is most commonly caused by a blocked oil gland along the eyelid margin that becomes infected. Staphylococcal bacteria is the typical culprit, as our skin and nostrils are covered in staph strains. Rubbing the eyes or poor eyelid hygiene can transfer the bacteria into the oil glands, making a person more susceptible to a hordeolum.

Usually, a stye is first noticed as a tender, red bump on the eyelid and may feel like something is in the eye based on its location. It can be on the inside part of the eyelid or visible on the external side, with or without a pimple-like appearance. In some cases the eyelid can become quite swollen.

How to get rid of it?

It is important to not pop or squeeze the bump because it can spread the infection and potentially worsen the condition. Although it is tempting, avoid touching the eyelids in general to lessen the risk of causing an eye infection.

The best way to get rid of a stye is to use frequent warm compresses, followed by gently massaging the area. The heat attracts white blood cells to help fight the infection, and melts the clogged oil. By massaging the area after using the heat, it aids in removing the infected discharge. While diligently applying warm compresses is the standard treatment, there are some cases that require further treatment or surgical removal if not resolved. Each stye is unique and may require a different approach based on the doctor’s assessment.

Who gets them?

Some people are more prone to getting styes due to chronically blocked oil glands. Good lid hygiene and maintenance warm compresses are necessary to minimize recurrences. Using lid wipes or washing the eyelids with baby shampoo helps to remove debris from the eyelashes that can instigate new styes if left present.


It is always best to have an eye care professional examine the bump to rule-out more serious conditions, so please call our office to seek medical advice from one of our three doctors.