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Hordeolum is a bacterial INFECTION of a gland or an eyelash follicle along the edge of the eyelid, commonly known as a stye. A hordeolum causes swelling, redness, PAIN, and a discharge that leaves a crusty layer on the eyelids during sleep. The doctor can usually diagnose hordeolum by its presentation. BLEPHARITIS (infection of the inside surface of the eyelid) and CONJUNCTIVITIS (infection of the conjunctiva, the membrane lining the eyelids) may instigate, accompany, or follow hordeolum.
The doctor often chooses to anesthetize the area and lance (make tiny punctures or incisions under sterile conditions) the hordeolum to drain its contents and relieve the pressure. Further treatment is ophthalmic ANTIBIOTIC MEDICATIONS, typically in ointment form, applied to the area. Sometimes oral antibiotic medications are also necessary. Warm, moist compresses soothe the irritated tissues and help draw out any remaining pus.
Most hordeola clear up in 7 to 10 days with treatment and heal without residual consequences. A hordeolum does not itself cause VISION IMPAIRMENT, though untreated hordeola can lead to significant EYE problems if the infection spreads to other structures of the eye. Some people experience recurring hordeola, while others experience only a single episode. A hordeolum may also form the basis for a CHALAZION (painless nodule) to develop in its place.