Sty

  • Medical Author:
    Patricia S. Bainter, MD

    Dr. Bainter is a board-certified ophthalmologist. She received her BA from Pomona College in Claremont, CA, and her MD from the University of Colorado in Denver, CO. She completed an internal medicine internship at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver, CO, followed by an ophthalmology residency and a cornea and external disease fellowship, both at the University of Colorado. She became board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology in 1998 and recertified in 2008. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Dr. Bainter practices general ophthalmology including cataract surgery and management of corneal and anterior segment diseases. She has volunteered in eye clinics in the Dominican Republic and Bosnia. She currently practices at One to One Eye Care in San Diego, CA.

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

View the Eye Diseases and Conditions Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuideCommon Eye Problems and Infections

Common Eye Problems and Infections

What are the risk factors for a sty (stye)?

The most common risk factor is sluggish outflow of the sebum from the meibomian glands, which is commonly seen in a chronic inflammatory condition called meibomian gland dysfunction (also commonly called meibomitis). Meibomian gland dysfunction is frequently associated with acne rosacea on the cheeks and nose but can also be seen alone.

Other risks include obstruction of the gland's opening by scar tissue following infections, burns, or trauma. Foreign substances such as makeup and dust can also clog the gland's opening if not properly washed away.

Are styes contagious?

Styes are not contagious.

What are sty (stye) symptoms and signs?

The symptoms of a sty are

  • foreign body sensation (particularly with blinking),
  • pressure, and
  • sometimes pain in the area of the bump.

There may also be blurred vision if thick sebum or pus from within the sty spreads over the eye's surface.

Signs of a sty include

  • presence of a bump or lump in the eyelid,
  • redness,
  • swelling, and
  • puffy appearance of the eyelid.

If the sty is draining material from the gland's opening, there may be thick discharge or crusty material accumulating on the lids and lashes. In some cases, the skin overlying the sty will become thinned and the thick material within the sty may ooze out through a break in the skin. Watery tears can also be produced in response to irritation and pain. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 5/27/2016
References
REFERENCES:

Ben Simon, G. J., et al. "Intralesional triamcinolone acetonide injection versus incision and curettage for primary chalazia: a prospective, randomized study." American Journal of Ophthalmology 151.4 (2011): 714-718.

Driver, P. J. and M. A. Lemp. "Meibomian gland dysfunction." Survey of Ophthalmology 40.5 (1996): 343-367.

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