A stye is a small abscess (painful collection of pus) on the eyelid and is an infection at the root of an eyelash.

What is a stye?

Styes are common bacterial infections which occur at the eyelash root. This causes a small, painful abscess on the outside of the eyelid, which appears as a red lump and typically has a yellow spot in the middle. Usually, styes only affect one eye at a time but it is possible to have multiple styes.

What are the symptoms of stye?

Common eye stye symptoms include a visible lump and swelling of the eyelid. Your eye or eyelid may become red, painful and tender, and you may experience drooping of the eyelids, watery eyes or eye discharge before the stye abscess develops.

If there’s no lump on your eye but your eyelid has become swollen, watery and red, then it is more likely to be blepharitis or conjunctivitis than a stye. Chalazions can also cause hard lumps around your eyes but, unlike styes, these are typically not painful.

Stye prevention methods include keeping your eyelids and eyelashes clean, removing eye makeup before bed and replacing eye makeup products every six months. It’s also a good idea to treat any underlying blepharitis, which may be causing styes to recur.

What causes stye?

Usually, a stye is caused by an infection of staphylococcus bacteria, which is a bacterium found in the nose and easily transferred to the eye through contact. This bacteria can then result in infection or inflammation of the eyelash hair follicle, causing the ducts to become blocked and the oil to back up. As a result, the eyelid swells and can feel painful.

Eye stye causes can also include long-term blepharitis, an eyelid inflammation which can increase your risk of developing a stye. Other risk factors include certain skin conditions like dermatitis, some medical conditions such as diabetes, and the use of old cosmetic products.

Stye treatment is available at Moorfields Private

You can self-fund or use private medical insurance to fund your treatment.

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