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Eye Health Library / Eye Exam & Diagnoses
A stye (medical term: hordeolum) develops when an oil gland at the margin of your eyelid becomes blocked and infected by bacteria. The affected area of your eyelid will seem more red and tender to the touch, but generally vision is unaffected.
Most styes will heal on their own, but you can speed up the process by applying a hot compress to the area for four to five minutes several times a day. This will bring the stye to a head, and allow it to rupture and drain on its own. You should never “pop” a stye, but rather let it rupture on its own.
A stye that forms further into the eye is called an internal hordeolum. These have similar symptoms but are less likely to heal on their own and may need to be professionally drained. Often confused with a stye is a condition known as a chalazion. These start off similar to an external hordeolum, but are usually further from the eye lid margin and will turn into a painless hard lump with time. Though chalazia do not always need treatment, they are slower to heal and may need surgical removal.
Your doctor of optometry can do a thorough examination of your eyelids and determine the cause of your eye lid bump and the most appropriate treatment.