CHOC Children's
EYE CARE :: Eye Disorders

Stye (Hordeolum)

What is a hordeolum (stye)?

A hordeolum, also known as a stye, is localized inflammation at the eyelid margin. This condition is seen more often in children than in adults.

What causes a stye?

A stye is caused by inflammation in the sebaceous (oil producing) or sweat glands in the eyelid. There may be secondary infection is by bacteria, most commonly Staphylococcus aureus.

What are the symptoms of a stye?

The most common symptoms of a stye are:

  • swelling of the eyelid
  • redness at the edge of the eyelid
  • pain over the affected area (localized pain)
  • tenderness
  • drainage of yellow fluid

The symptoms of a stye may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

How is a stye diagnosed?

A stye is usually diagnosed based on a medical history and physical examination of your child. Additional tests are not usually required to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of a stye:

Treatment may include:

  • applying warm, wet compresses on the child's eye for about a period of approximately 10 minutes, 3-4 times per day
  • use of a mild steroid ointment, most often used in combination with an antibiotic ointment to prevent secondary infection
  • daily, gentle wash/scrub with baby shampoo
  • refraining from placing makeup over affected area

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It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.

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