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Healthwise Catholic Symptom Checker - Definition

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Stye

A stye is an infection in the tiny oil glands that surround the base of each eyelash along the edge of the eyelid. A stye begins as a red, tender bump, and looks like a small pimple.

A stye usually comes to a head (clear or yellow fluid collects in the stye) in about 3 days, after which it breaks open and drains and heals in about a week. Though the cause of a stye is often unknown, it can develop from rubbing the eyes or using products near the eyelid that can irritate the eye, both of which can transfer bacteria to the skin and cause infection.

Usually, home treatment is all that is needed to treat a stye. This includes not wearing eye makeup or contact lenses; letting the stye break open by itself; applying warm, wet compresses to the eye area; and using nonprescription medicines.

Last Revised: January 25, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology

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