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Stye (Hordeolum)

What is a hordeolum (stye)?

A hordeolum, also known as a stye, is an inflammation of part of the eyelash. This condition is seen more often in children than in adults.

What causes a stye?

A stye is caused by an infection in the sebaceous (oil producing) or sweat glands in the eyelid. The infection is usually caused by bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus.

What are the symptoms of a stye?

The following are the most common symptoms of a stye. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • swelling of the eyelid
  • redness at the edge of the eyelid
  • pain over the affected area
  • tenderness

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 complete medical history and physical examination of your child. Additional tests are not usually required to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of a stye:

Specific treatment for a stye will be determined by your child's physician based on:

  • your child's age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the condition
  • your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the condition
  • your opinion or preference

Treatment may include:

  • applying warm, wet compresses on the child's eye for about a period of approximately 15 minutes, several times throughout the day
  • instructing your child not to squeeze or rub the stye
  • having your child wash his/her hands frequently
  • antibiotic ointments for the eye (this does not make the stye go away faster, but it can help to stop the spread of the infection to other parts of the eye)
  • having your child wash his/her face daily, including the eye
  • refraining from wearing make-up until the infection heals

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