Hordeolum (Stye)

A hordeolum-often referred to a “stye”- is a tender, painful red bump located at the base of an eyelash or under or inside the eyelid. When the oil glands of an eyelid become clogged from a bacterial infection, an acute infection generally occurs and causes a hordeolum to develop. This type of hordeolum is generally referred to as an “internal hordeolum,” and appears as a visible bump under the eyelid. An infected hair follicle at the base of an eyelash can also cause a hordeolum. This is referred to as an “external hordeolum,” and is also visible as a small red bump.

Signs and Symptoms:

The first sign of hordeolum is a small, yellowish spot at the center of the bump that occurs when pus expands in the area. Other symptoms include: a lump on the top or bottom eyelid, swelling of the eye, eye redness, pain or tenderness in the infected eye, burning, tearing, or irritation of the eye, light sensitivity, and discomfort when blinking.


A hordeolum will generally heal on its own after about 7-10 days, and therefore most patients do not require medical treatment. Contact the office if your symptoms lasts longer than two weeks, you encounter problems with your vision, the bump bleeds, of if the bump becomes painful. In very rare cases, complications may occur. If the hordeolum progresses in to a chalazion, a more serious infection, our Doctors will help you determine a proper treatment plan.


Preventing a hordeolum may be as simple as practicing proper hygiene. Hand washing and avoiding touching your eyes can help prevent hordeolums, as well as other infections. Women should never share cosmetics, and are recommended to remove makeup every night before going to sleep and to discard old or contaminated eye makeup.