Bump on the eyelid; Stye; Hordeolum
A stye is caused by a blockage of one of the oil glands in the eyelids. This allows bacteria to grow inside the blocked gland. Styes are a lot like common acne pimples that occur elsewhere on the skin. You may have more than one stye at the same time.
Styes most often develop over a few days. They may drain and heal on their own. A stye can become a chalazion, which occurs when an inflamed oil gland becomes fully blocked. If a chalazion gets large enough, it can cause trouble with your vision.
If you have blepharitis, you are more likely to get styes.
Other possible common eyelid bumps include:
Most bumps on the eyelid are styes. A stye is an inflamed oil gland on the edge of your eyelid, where the lash meets the lid. It appears as a red, swollen bump that looks like a pimple. It is often tender to the touch.
In most cases, your health care provider can diagnose a stye just by looking at it. Tests are rarely needed.
Styes often get better on their own. However, they may return.
The outcome is almost always excellent with simple treatment.
Sometimes, the infection may spread to the rest of the eyelid. This is called eyelid cellulitis and may require oral antibiotics.
Always wash your hands very well before touching the skin around your eye. If you are prone to getting styes or have blepharitis, it may help to carefully clean off excess oils from the edges of your lids. To do this, use a solution of warm water and no-tears baby shampoo. Fish oil taken by mouth may help prevent plugging of the oil glands.
In addition to the red, swollen bump, other possible symptoms include:
To treat eyelid bumps at home:
For a stye, your doctor may:
Call your health care provider if:
Shields CL, Lally SE, Shields JA. Tumors of the eyelids. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Ophthalmology. 2013 edition. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2013:vol 4, chap 3.
Wright JL, Wightman JM. Red and painful eye. In Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 22.
Yanoff M, Cameron D. Diseases of the visual system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 423.
Review Date: 8/20/2016
Reviewed By: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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