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Stye Causes & Risks


A hordeolum is caused by a blockage in the small glands located along the eyelid margin. These glands produce oil and the blockage prevents normal drainage of the gland. If bacteria are trapped in the gland, an infection can develop, and the development of fluid and pus cause the area to become red and inflamed. In 90%-95% of cases, the resulting infection is caused by the bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus (sometimes known as “staph”). It is possible to have more than one hordeolum at a time, and it is common for them to reoccur.

Risk Factors

Hordeolum is a common condition, although the exact incidence in the US is not known. Some conditions may increase the risk of developing a hordeolum, these include:

  • Poor eyelid hygiene
  • Chronic illness
  • Previous hordeolum (hordeolums often recur in the same eyelid)

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2023 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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