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Hordeolum (Stye)

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Hordeolum (Stye)

The medical name for a stye is hordeolum (or hordeola if there are more than one). Styes are a very common type of infection of the eyelid. Usually, only one eye is affected, although you can develop more than one stye at a time, even on the same lid. There are two types of stye: external styes and internal styes, depending on the gland that is infected. 
Most styes occur for no obvious reason, although if your eyelids are itchy or rubbed a lot this may make an external stye more likely. The usual bacteria that causes the infection is called Staphylococcus aureus. It is a common gram-positive bacteria that is found on healthy skin; however, it can occasionally get into the small glands of the eye, where it causes infections such as spots, abscesses, and styes.  
The treatment for these conditions begins with hot compresses. Typically microwavable masks that hold heat for 10-15 minutes tend to work better than wetting a washcloth.  Apply the heat several times per day.  If your eye care provider finds inflammation and infection more widespread around the affected gland, oral antibiotics or prescription ointments might be warranted. Styes tend to recur, so keeping eyelids as clean and dry as possible will help to prevent future infections from forming. 
If you have questions, please call our office 770.926.2858

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