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  • Alexander Olaussen

Stye (Hordeolum) - Understanding and Managing Stye: An Evidence-Based Guide

🎯 Summary
  • Stye, medically known as hordeolum, is a common and often uncomfortable condition affecting the eyelid.

  • It typically presents as a red, swollen, and tender bump near the edge of the eyelid.

  • Understanding the causes, treatment options, and preventive measures is essential for effective management.

  • Warm compress and good hygiene, as well as a few days without lenses, typically clear it up. Sometimes antibiotics are required. Surgery to relieve the pressure is rarely needed.


🤔 What is a Stye?

  • Definition: A stye is an acute infection or inflammation of the oil glands in the eyelid. This condition is usually caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus.

  • Symptoms: Common symptoms include a painful, red bump on the eyelid, swelling, tenderness, and sometimes, a small pus spot at the center of the bump. It may also cause tearing and discomfort in bright light.

  • Types: Styes can be external (at the base of an eyelash) or internal (inside the eyelid).

🦠 What causes a Stye?

  • While the primary cause is bacterial infection, factors like stress, hormonal changes, or poor eyelid hygiene are often speculated to contribute, though direct evidence is limited.


💊 What are the treatment options for a Stye?

Evidence Based Treatments:

  • Warm Compresses: Applying a warm compress to the affected eye for 5 to 10 minutes, several times a day, can help the stye drain more quickly.

  • Good Hygiene: Keeping the eyelid clean and avoiding makeup or contact lenses until the stye heals is crucial.

  • Antibiotic Ointments: In some cases, a topical antibiotics to treat the infection may be prescribed.

  • Surgery to relieve pressure: If your stye doesn't clear up, a small cut in it to drain the pus may be required.

  • Acupunture: may work

Speculative Treatments:

  • Alternative Therapies: Some suggest natural remedies like tea bags or herbal compresses. However, these treatments lack substantial scientific backing and should be approached with caution.

📚 Evidence (expandable list)

Is there any evidence pertaining to styes? Yes 👍

Non‐surgical interventions for acute internal hordeolum

Acupuncture for acute hordeolum

🎯 How to prevent a Stye?

Evidence-Based Recommendations:

  • Regular Eyelid Hygiene: Regular cleaning of the eyelids with mild soap or baby shampoo can prevent the formation of styes.

  • Avoid Touching Eyes: Minimizing eye contact with unwashed hands reduces the risk of bacterial transfer.

  • Proper Contact Lens Hygiene: For contact lens wearers, following appropriate hygiene protocols is essential.

Speculative Advice:

  • Dietary Changes: Some believe that dietary modifications can impact stye formation, although there is insufficient evidence to support this.

✋ What not to do with a Stye?

  • No squeezing: Do not try to pop the stye or squeeze the pus out. Doing so can cause the infection to spread.

  • No lenses: Use glasses instead of lenses. The lenses can be contaminated with bacteria associated with a stye.

How does this relate to healthspan and longevity?

Styes, while typically a minor and treatable eye condition, can be indicative of broader issues related to healthspan and longevity. In the context of healthspan - the period of life spent in good health - managing and preventing conditions like styes is crucial for maintaining overall ocular health and, by extension, general well-being. Good hygiene practices, which are essential in preventing styes, also play a vital role in avoiding other infections, thus contributing to a healthier, more robust immune system. This is particularly important as one ages, given the natural decline in immune function. Additionally, the occurrence of styes can sometimes be a signal of underlying systemic health issues, such as diabetes or hormonal imbalances, which are closely tied to healthspan and longevity. Therefore, attention to such seemingly minor health issues is a key component in the broader context of maintaining health and wellness over a lifetime, ensuring not just a longer life but one with better quality and reduced incidence of chronic diseases.

Book your Healthspan Longevity Report here 👇

Follow up

🧑‍⚕️ When to See a Doctor

Consult a healthcare professional if:

  • The stye does not improve within a few days or worsens.

  • There is significant pain or visual disturbance.

  • Symptoms of a more serious infection appear, such as fever or eyelid cellulitis.

Concerned, book a consult here 👇


Styes, while generally not serious, can be uncomfortable and bothersome. Most cases can be effectively managed with proper hygiene and simple home treatments like warm compresses. However, persistent or severe cases may require medical attention. Remember, while various home remedies and preventive measures are suggested, it's essential to distinguish between those grounded in scientific evidence and those that are speculative. Consulting with healthcare professionals for personalised advice is always advisable.

More information
  • Lindsley K, Nichols JJ, Dickersin K. Non‐surgical interventions for acute internal hordeolum. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2017(1)

  • Cheng K, Law A, Guo M, Wieland LS, Shen X, Lao L. Acupuncture for acute hordeolum. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2017(2).

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