The Complete Guide to Understanding and Treating Styes: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment 

A stye, also known as hordeolum, is a common eye condition that is characterized by a painful, red bump on the eyelid caused by a bacterial infection of the oil glands resulting in inflammation, redness, and pain, and the bump may be filled with pus. These occur on the upper or lower eyelid and are caused by a number of factors. Some of the most common causes include: 

  1. Poor eyelid hygiene: When the oil glands in the eyelid become clogged with dirt, makeup, or other debris, bacteria can begin to grow and cause an infection. 
  2. Touching the eyes with dirty hands: This can transfer bacteria from the hands to the eyelid, increasing the risk of an infection. 
  3. Certain medical conditions: People with blepharitis (an inflammation of the eyelid) or seborrheic dermatitis (a skin condition that causes flaky, red skin) may be more likely to develop styes. 
  4. Certain medications: People who take rosacea medications may be more likely to develop styes. 
  5. Dry eyes: People who have dry eyes tend to have more styes and other eye infections than those who have healthy tears. This is because dry eyes can cause the oil glands in the eyelid to become clogged, increasing the risk of an infection. 
  6. Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy or menopause, can cause an increase in the activity of the oil glands in the eyelid, which can lead to styes. 
  7. Other factors: People who have diabetes, a weakened immune system, or who have recently had eye surgery may also be at a higher risk of developing styes

If you do develop a stye, there are several treatment options available. Here are a few:

  1. Warm compresses: Applying a warm compress to the affected area can help to relieve pain and swelling. 
  2. Antibiotics: Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help clear up the infection. 
  3. Incision and drainage: In some cases, a small incision may be made in the stye to allow the pus to drain out. 
  4. Surgery: In rare cases, a surgical procedure may be necessary to remove the stye. 

Prevention is the best way to avoid getting a stye. Here are a few tips:

  1. Keep your eyelids clean: Regularly clean your eyelids with a mild soap ( no-tears formula baby shampoo) and water to remove any bacteria or debris that may be present. 
  2. Avoid touching your eyes: Touching your eyes with dirty hands can transfer bacteria to the eyelid, increasing the risk of a stye. 
  3. Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands regularly, especially before touching your eyes or applying makeup. 
  4. Avoid sharing personal items: Don’t share makeup, contact lenses, or eye drops with others, as these items can transfer bacteria. 
  5. Keep your skin moisturized: Dry skin can increase the risk of a stye, so be sure to keep your skin moisturized. 


While styes can be uncomfortable and unsightly, they are generally not serious. However, if you experience frequent styes or have other symptoms such as vision changes, it’s important to see an eye doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. 

About The Author

Dr. Coco is a highly-educated and well-qualified primary care physician who graduated from the University of the Philippines Baguio with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center. She completed her three-year residency training in Family Medicine at Brokenshire Medical Center. She passed her diplomate exams in Family Medicine, given by the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians in 2018. 


Dr. Coco is dedicated to providing comprehensive and holistic care for her patients. She is a primary care physician who believes in delivering continuing comprehensive health care for all. To her, patients are not just a number as she takes time to analyse how she can improve their overall health every chance they can get. 

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