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What is a stye?

A stye is an inflammation of the eyelids that affects the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes (Zeis glands). It appears as a kind of solid , white-yellowish pimple at the root of the eyelashes and can occur on both the upper and lower eyelids.

Typical symptoms of stye are discomfort, swelling, redness of the eyelids, a sense of heaviness and sometimes itchingTearing may be more intense than normal and a foreign body sensation may also be felt in the eye.

The causes of stye are usually bacterial (staphylococcus infection), but other possible factors, such as poor hygiene, eating disorders or stress, must also be taken into account.

In addition, stye may appear more frequently in blepharitis sufferers.

To prevent the appearance of a stye, it is good practice to constantly cleanse the eyelid margin and follow good hygiene (including hand hygiene). A healthy diet (rich in fruit, vegetables, fish, etc.) can also contribute to its prevention.

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If you suspect the presence of a stye, it is advisable to seek a diagnosis from your general practitioner or a specialist, an ophthalmologist, who will be able to indicate the best solution for your specific situation.


Styes usually resolve spontaneously within a few days, without causing any vision damage. Generally, spontaneous rupture of the stye, with subsequent discharge of the pus, alleviates the symptoms and stimulates reabsorption.

In any case, it is important never to “squeeze” the stye as if it were a pimple, as this risks extending the infection and further irritating the eyelids.

To encourage spontaneous rupture of the stye, warm, wet compresses can be applied a couple of times a day with a cotton wool pad soaked in warm water or chamomile tea (which has a soothing effect) or with commercially available warming wipes. The compresses should not be excessively hot, otherwise there is a risk of further irritation of the eyelids.

In some cases the ophthalmologist may also prescribe an antibiotic ointment.