Sty Symptoms and Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

View the Eye Diseases and Conditions Slideshow Pictures

What are sty symptoms and signs?

The first signs and symptoms of a sty are usually redness, tenderness, and pain in the affected area. The eye may feel irritated or "scratchy." Later signs and symptoms may include swelling, discomfort during blinking of the eye, watering of the eye, and sensitivity to light. A common sign of a sty is a small, yellowish spot at the center of the bump that represents pus rising to the surface.

How is a sty diagnosed?

A sty is diagnosed by its characteristic appearance and symptoms. No other tests are necessary to establish the diagnosis of a sty.

Eye Conditions Quiz: Test Your IQ

Who is most susceptible to the development of a sty?

Styes are very common. People of all ages can develop a sty, and men and women are equally affected. There is a slight increase in the incidence of styes during the third to fifth decades of life. People with certain chronic conditions (diabetes mellitus, chronic blepharitis [inflammation of the eyelid], seborrhea, and chronic debilitating illnesses) are more prone to develop styes than the general population. In many susceptible people, stress seems to trigger the development of a sty. Studies have shown that those who have high levels of blood lipids (fats) are more susceptible to blockages in the oil glands, including the glands of the eyelid and are, therefore, more likely to develop a sty.

Sty Symptoms and Signs Resources

Read patient comments on Sty (Stye) - Symptoms and Signs

Doctor written main article on Sty (Stye)

Medically reviewed by William Baer, MD; Board Certified Ophthalmology


Bessette, Michael J. "Hordeolum and Stye in Emergency Medicine." Feb. 24, 2010. <>.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Reviewed on 4/14/2016

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors