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Health Library : Pediatrics


Hordeolum (Stye)

What is a hordeolum?

A hordeolum, also known as a stye, is an inflammation of part of the eyelid.

What causes a stye?

A stye is caused by a skin infection at the edge of the eyelid or underneath 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
  • A painful sense that there are small particles in the eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Tearing of the eye

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

A stye will typically go away on its own, rupturing and draining after two to seven days. Specific treatment for a stye will be determined by your child's doctor 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 five to 10 minutes, two to three times throughout the day
  • Instructing your child not to squeeze or rub the stye
  • Having your child wash his or 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 or her face daily, including the eye
  • Refraining from wearing makeup until the infection heals

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Pediatrics

 Sources & References


 Find an MUSC Doctor:
 »Pediatrics General

 Treatment at MUSC:
 »Storm Eye Institute



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