A small area of redness and pain on the margin of your eyelid may indicate that you have a stye, known in medical terms as external hordeolum. A stye is a blocked gland at the edge of the lid which has become infected by bacteria, usually Staphylococcus aureus.
The area of redness and pain will eventually form a 'point'. Until this occurs, warm compresses should be applied to the area for 15 minutes three-to-four times a day. The compresses should be followed by the application of sulphonimide or antibiotic ointment to the stye, available by prescription. Check with your eye care practitioner.
Once the stye has 'pointed', it can usually be expressed (squeezed gently to empty its contents), after which the lids should be cleaned. Treatment with the ointment should be continued until symptoms have cleared. Sometimes it is necessary for the stye to be lanced by an eye care practitioner to assist with expression.
Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 24 Apr 2015, Last modified: 4 Mar 2020