Stye: see what causes inflammation and how to treat it

Swelling, itching, redness and discomfort in the eyes. These are some of the symptoms of the hordeolus, popularly known as stye, an inflammation that occurs in the eyelid.

Sounds familiar? Learn more about the causes and how to treat this problem:


What is the cause of the sty?

The sty is an inflammation in the eyelid of the eye, caused by infection of the sebaceous glands, caused by bacteria that are part of the skin. Therefore, it is not transmissible. This obstruction is caused by the accumulation of fat in the region.

The infection, if it is very recurrent, can also be related to blepharitis , which is an inflammation in the inner or outer part of the eyelid that causes the excessive production of tears and the accumulation of secretions in the eyelashes.

This build-up can obstruct the eyelid glands, leading to the formation of the stye.


In general, itchy sensation and pain in the eyelid are the first symptoms noticed. Other indications are:

  • Swelling in the eyelid area;
  • Redness;
  • Sensitivity to light;
  • Local heat.

The stye can be external (close to the lashes) or internal (inside the eyelid).

What to do when you get sty?

The first thing to do is not to touch the inflammation, as our hands have bacteria that can make the problem worse. In addition, it is important to consult an ophthalmologist, so that proper guidance is given.

In general, ointments or eye drops are indicated to help improve the condition. Along with pharmacological recommendations, made by specialists, some precautions can be taken so that the infection does not progress. Between them:

  • Do not poke;
  • Do not squeeze (even in the presence of pus);
  • Do not touch with dirty hands;
  • Keep the place clean.

The use of makeup in the eye area during the infection is also not indicated, as it can worsen the problem.

Is sty contagious?

No. The bacteria responsible for the infection of the sty are natural to our body and do not proliferate in the environment. Despite this, it is important to pay attention to some hygiene precautions so that the symptoms do not progress.

How to reduce inflammation?

In general, after 5 or 6 days the stye regresses and disappears spontaneously, but there are some elements that can be used to accelerate healing.

Home treatment

In most cases, what we can do to relieve the symptoms of the stye is the compress of warm water. The application of heat to the site helps to relieve pain and drain the pus, if necessary.

To perform the compress, just dip a cotton cloth in warm water, remove the excess liquid and apply to the inflammation site for 5 minutes. Do this 3 to 4 times a day.

In addition to the compress, it is important that treatments are carried out only under medical guidance.


If symptoms persist well beyond the estimated time, it may be necessary to prescribe antibiotics presented in ointments, eye drops or ophthalmic suspensions.

Antibiotics attack the bacteria responsible for the infection and inhibit its multiplication.

Among the options are:

  • Terramycin Ophthalmic Ointment ;
  • Dexafenicol ;
  • Maxitrol.

Remembering that the prescription must always be performed by a professional.

Who can get sty?

The bacteria that cause inflammation inhabit the skin naturally. That way, all people are susceptible to sty. However, some are more vulnerable to developing the problem, such as pregnant women and adolescents.

This is due to the great hormonal variation that occurs in the body of these people. These changes can lead to greater production of fat by the skin, increasing the risk of obstruction of the glands in the eye region.

Is there a way to prevent it?

In cases in which the development of the problem is not related to diseases such as blepharitis – inflammation that affects the production of tears -, good hygiene of the face is a main element in the prevention of the stye.

Removing your makeup before bed and avoiding rubbing your face frequently are some actions that can be taken to prevent the development of inflammation.

Daily washing of the face with neutral soap is also indicated.

Although it looks harmless, the sty must be monitored and treated by specialists. To prevent the discomfort of this inflammation, daily hygiene of the face is essential.

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