Stye (Hordeolum)


External stye

  • External stye is an infection of the lash follicle and its associated gland of Zeis or Moll

Internal stye (chalazion)

  • This is an jnfection of the meibomian gland

Clinical features

  • Painful lump growing on the eyelid
  • Red swollen area on the eyelid (like a boil)
  • Pain in the affected area of the eyelid
  • Chalazion: firm, painless lump on the eyelid, usually upper lid

Differential diagnoses

  • Various eyelid cysts and tumours


  • Pre-septal cellulitis
  • Orbital cellulitis
  • Cavernous sinus thrombosis


  • If recurrent, screen for diabetes


Non-drug measures

  • Apply warm wet pads for 15 minutes 4 times daily until the stye drains
  • Incision and curettage (if there is still a chalazion lump) as soon as the infection settles

Drug treatment

Antibiotic eye ointment to stop infection

  • Chloramphenicol ointment apply 4 times daily for 2 weeks

Systemic antibiotics

  • Amoxicillin 250 – 500 mg orally every 8 hours for 5-7 days


  • Discourage the use of traditional eye medication


  • Clean eyelids regularly and thoroughly
  • For recurrent styes, use baby shampoo to clean the eyelashes regularly

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