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Hordeolum (Stye)

Hordeolum (Stye) is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Clinical Consult.

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  • An acute inflammation or infection of the eyelid margin involving the sebaceous gland of an eyelash (external hordeolum) or a meibomian gland (internal hordeolum)
  • System(s) affected: skin/exocrine
  • Synonym(s): internal hordeolum; external hordeolum; zeisian sty; meibomian stye; stye


  • Predominant age: none
  • Predominant sex: male = female

Unknown: Although external hordeolum is common, internal hordeolum is rare.

Etiology and Pathophysiology

  • Bacterial infection of sweat or sebaceous glands, causing an acute inflammatory reaction
  • In an internal hordeolum, the meibomian gland may become obstructed, leading to a pustule on the conjunctival surface as opposed to the margin of the eyelid.
  • Most commonly caused by Staphylococcus aureus (~90–95% of all cases) or by Staphylococcus epidermidis
  • Seborrhea can predispose to infections of the eyelid.

No known genetic pattern

Risk Factors

  • Poor eyelid hygiene
  • Previous hordeolum
  • Contact lens wearers
  • Application of makeup
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Predisposing blepharitis (low-grade infections of the eyelid margin)
  • Ocular rosacea

General Prevention

Eyelid hygiene

Commonly Associated Conditions

  • Acne
  • Seborrhea
  • An association may exist between hordeolum during childhood and developing rosacea in adulthood.

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Stephens, Mark B., et al., editors. "Hordeolum (Stye)." 5-Minute Clinical Consult, 27th ed., Wolters Kluwer, 2019. Medicine Central, im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116285/all/Hordeolum__Stye_.
Hordeolum (Stye). In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, et al, eds. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. 27th ed. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116285/all/Hordeolum__Stye_. Accessed April 26, 2019.
Hordeolum (Stye). (2019). In Stephens, M. B., Golding, J., Baldor, R. A., & Domino, F. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Available from https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116285/all/Hordeolum__Stye_
Hordeolum (Stye) [Internet]. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, Domino FJ, editors. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. [cited 2019 April 26]. Available from: https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116285/all/Hordeolum__Stye_.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Hordeolum (Stye) ID - 116285 ED - Stephens,Mark B, ED - Golding,Jeremy, ED - Baldor,Robert A, ED - Domino,Frank J, BT - 5-Minute Clinical Consult, Updating UR - https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116285/all/Hordeolum__Stye_ PB - Wolters Kluwer ET - 27 DB - Medicine Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -