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Stye - What is it ?

A stye is a bump that forms on or in the eyelid as the result of a blocked gland.

Causes of stye

Styes occur when a gland in or on the eyelid becomes blocked. This can occur if the gland’s opening is obstructed by a foreign substance , or if there is thickening of the substance produced by the gland, causing the material to flow sluggishly or not at all.

The symptoms of a sty are

  • foreign body sensation (particularly with blinking),
  • Pain in the area of the bump.

There may also be blur vision if thick sebum or pus from within the sty spreads over the eye’s surface.

Signs of a sty include

  • presence of a bump or lump in the eyelid,
  • redness,
  • swelling, and
  • puffy appearance of the eyelid.


An infected stye may resolve after appropriate treatment. Warm compresses will help soften the material in the gland, allowing the gland’s contents to drain naturally.

Anti biotic eye ointment is prescribed for local application.

Long standing, painless stye can be removed by surgery. It’s a short procedure and sometimes this is the only treatment option to get rid of the bump once the infection has subsided.

Frequently Asked Questions

A stye is a red, painful bump on the eyelid, caused by a backed-up oil gland. Styes can appear on either the upper or lower eyelid, as well as the inside or the outside of the eyelid, near the edge of the eyelid where the eyelashes are.

Eyelids have lots of oil glands. They make a special oil that mixes with tears to keep eyes lubricated.

Sometimes, these glands can get clogged with old oil, dead skin cells, and old skin bacteria. When this happens, liquid builds up in the clogged gland and can’t get out.

The result is a little bump on the upper or lower eyelid that can look like a pimple. A stye can become infected and get very red and swollen.

The stye should begin to improve over a few days. If it doesn’t or it gets worse, call your doctor.

The doctor may give you an antibiotic cream to use on the stye or prescribe antibiotics. In rare cases, the doctor might make a tiny cut in the eyelid to let out the clogged-up material. The doctor also will see whether your child has something other than a stye and, if so, treat it.

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