Hordeolum (Stye): Exactly How To Treat This Annoying Eyelid Condition

Hordeolum (Stye) - Exactly How To Treat This Annoying Eyelid Condition

Did you know that there are two types of hordeola (plural for hordeolum) but only one is actually called a stye?

In the video below, Dr. Amanda Rights reviews what you need to know about having an internal or external hordeolum (i.e. stye). 

If you don’t like the video or want more information, continue reading.

What is a hordeolum?

A hordeolum is a red, painful bump on the surface of the eyelid. It is caused by infection or inflammation of a gland.

These glands sometimes become clogged with bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells. The result is a small, red bump on the eyelid, that may be swollen and tender to the touch.

There are two types of hordeola, identified by its location:

This is what an external hordeolum looks like
Source: Wikimedia Commons / Andre Riemann

1) External hordeolum

An external hordeolum, commonly called a stye, is a blocked gland on the outside of the lid margin. It is often associated with the hair follicles of the eyelashes.

This is what an internal hordeolum looks like
Source: Wikimedia Commons / Andre Riemann

2) Internal hordeolum

An internal hordeolum occurs by the same process an external hordeolum but is associated with the meibomian oil glands. Meibomian glands are located deeper within the eyelid.

How to get rid of a hordeolum

Unfortunately, a hordeolum can last for several days without treatment. Some may heal on their own while others require medical treatment.

To help naturally drain a hordeolum, apply a warm compress (i.e. a hot washcloth or heating pad) to your closed eyelid for five to ten minutes. Next, gently massage the bump with your fingertips to help express the contents. Repeat this a few times daily and be sure to keep the area along your lash line clean with a gentle cleanser or commercially-packaged lid scrubs.

Note: For cleansers, we recommend Ocusoft Foaming Cleanser or Cliradex Light Foaming Cleanser. For lid scrubs, we recommend Ocusoft Lid Scrubs or Cliradex Towelletes.

Also, avoid wearing eye makeup or doing anything that could introduce more bacteria to your eyelids. Always wash your hands before touching your eyes and be sure to avoid touching the hordeolum. Lastly, do not try to pop it, as this could cause the infection to spread.

If you have a stye that is not getting better or has been present for more than a few days, you should be evaluated by an eye doctor. For a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, talk to your local eye care professional today.

Cover photo: Wikimedia Commons / Imrankabirhossain