A stye, also known as a hordeolum, is a common eye condition characterized by a painful and tender lump that forms on the eyelid. It typically occurs when an oil gland or hair follicle on the eyelid becomes infected or blocked. Two types of styles are common. They are external and internal.

  • External styes, known as an external hordeolum, develop on the outer part of the upper or lower eyelid. They are the more prevalent type and typically result from an infection in the follicle of an eyelash.
  • Internal styes, referred to as internal hordeolum, form on the inner surface of the eyelid facing the eyeball. They are typically caused by an infection in the gland of the inner eyelid, which produces oils to keep the eyelid adequately moisturized.


The signs and symptoms of a stye can vary, but they typically include:

  • Redness and swelling of the eyelid, accompanied by pains
  • Lump or bump on the eyelid
  • Crust formation in the eyelid
  • Light sensitivity.
  • Soreness and itching.
  • Watery eyes
  • Foreign body sensation

If you happen to experience any of these symptoms or you have a family member or loved one that has this experience, then it is of utmost relevance to search for appropriate answers to questions like How long do styes last? In this article, the most appropriate thought will be provided. Relatively, other vital information will be discussed in this article to further expand our knowledge about the ailment called “an eye stye”.


The duration of a stye can vary from person to person, but most styles typically resolve within one to two weeks. The exact length of time can depend on various factors, including the individual’s immune system, the severity of the infection, and the effectiveness of self-care measures.

During the initial stages, a stye may appear as a small red bump that gradually increases in size and becomes more painful. After a few days, it may develop a white or yellowish pustule at its center, indicating the presence of pus. At this point, the style may be tender and cause discomfort, particularly when blinking or touching the affected area.

To aid in the healing process and alleviate symptoms, applying warm compresses to the style for 10 to 15 minutes multiple times a day can be beneficial. The warmth helps to improve blood circulation and promote the drainage of the stye. It’s important to avoid squeezing or attempting to pop the stye, as this can lead to further complications or the spread of infection.

If the stye persists for more than two weeks, becomes increasingly painful, affects vision, or spreads to other parts of the eye, it is recommended to seek medical attention from an eye care professional. They can assess the situation, provide appropriate treatment, such as prescription antibiotics or incision and drainage if necessary, and offer further guidance for managing the style.

It’s worth noting that practicing good eyelid hygiene, such as avoiding touching or rubbing the eyes with dirty hands, regularly cleaning eyelids with a gentle cleanser, and replacing old or contaminated eye makeup, can help reduce the risk of style recurrence.


Styes, in most cases, are not considered highly contagious. The primary cause of a stye is a bacterial infection, typically Staphylococcus aureus, which is commonly found on the skin or in the nasal passages of many individuals. However, the transmission of these bacteria from one person to another to directly cause a stye is relatively uncommon.

Styes are usually a result of an infection occurring in the hair follicle or oil gland of the eyelid. The infection is often triggered by the bacteria already present on the person’s skin or other factors, such as poor eyelid hygiene, rubbing the eyes with dirty hands, or using contaminated eye makeup.


Preventing styes involves practicing good hygiene and taking certain precautions to reduce the risk of developing an eyelid infection. The following is a list of stye prevention tips:

Maintain Good Eyelid Hygiene: Keep your eyelids clean by gently washing them with mild soap or using a prescribed eyelid cleanser. Be sure to remove any makeup before going to bed to avoid clogging the eyelid glands.

Avoid Touching or Rubbing Your Eyes: Touching or rubbing your eyes with unwashed hands can introduce bacteria or irritants to the eyelids, increasing the risk of infection. Avoid touching your eyes unnecessarily and wash your hands thoroughly before any contact with your eyes.

Use Clean Eye Makeup and Tools: If you wear eye makeup, make sure to use clean brushes, applicators, and products. Replace mascara and other eye cosmetics regularly to prevent bacterial buildup. Avoid sharing your eye makeup with others to minimize the risk of contamination.

Practice Contact Lens Hygiene: If you wear contact lenses, follow proper hygiene practices, such as cleaning and disinfecting them as instructed by your eye care professional. Avoid sleeping in your contact lenses unless recommended by your eye doctor.

Avoid Sharing Personal Eye Items: To reduce the spread of bacteria, avoid sharing towels, washcloths, or any other personal items used around the eyes.

Be Cautious with Eye Irritants: Avoid exposing your eyes to irritants, such as smoke, dust, or harsh chemicals. If necessary, use protective eyewear in situations where eye irritation may occur.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: A strong immune system can help prevent infections, including styes. Maintain a balanced diet, get regular exercise, manage stress, and get enough sleep to support your overall health.


Recurring styes, also known as a recurrent hordeolum, can be a frustrating and bothersome condition for individuals who experience them. Recurrence refers to the recurrence of styes after they have previously healed. Here are some key points to understand about recurring styes:

1. Underlying Causes: Recurring styes can be associated with various underlying causes. One common cause is the presence of a chronic bacterial infection called Staphylococcus aureus, which colonizes the eyelid margin and contributes to stye formation. Other factors that can contribute to recurring styes include poor eyelid hygiene, blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids), meibomian gland dysfunction, or an underlying systemic condition that affects the immune system.

2. Lid Margin Abnormalities: Structural abnormalities or functional problems of the eyelid margin, such as misaligned eyelashes, blepharitis, or meibomian gland dysfunction, can increase the likelihood of recurrent styes. These conditions can disrupt the normal functioning of the eyelid glands, leading to the accumulation of oil and debris and providing an environment conducive to stye formation.

3. Contamination and Reinfection: Styes can sometimes be caused by self-contamination or reinfection. Rubbing or touching the affected eye and then touching another part of the eye or the opposite eye can introduce bacteria or irritants, leading to the development of new styles. Additionally, using contaminated makeup, towels, or other shared items around the eyes can contribute to reinfection and recurrence.

4. Treatment and Prevention: To manage recurring styes, it is important to address any underlying causes and maintain good eyelid hygiene. Treatment may involve the use of warm compresses to soothe the area, gentle eyelid cleaning with prescribed eyelid cleansers, and sometimes the use of antibiotic ointments or oral antibiotics to control bacterial growth. In some cases, management of underlying conditions, such as blepharitis or meibomian gland dysfunction, may be necessary.

5. Consultation with an Eye Care Professional: If you experience recurring styes, it is advisable to consult with an eye care professional, such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist. They can evaluate your specific situation, identify any underlying factors contributing to the recurrence, and provide appropriate treatment options. They may also recommend lifestyle modifications, such as improving eyelid hygiene practices, avoiding eye irritants, or managing systemic conditions that may impact eye health.


The following factors place you at high risk of getting chronic stye infection:

Poor Eyelid Hygiene: Inadequate eyelid hygiene can increase the risk of style recurrence. Failing to keep the eyelids clean can lead to the accumulation of oil, debris, and bacteria along the eyelid margin, creating an environment conducive to stye formation. It is important to maintain good eyelid hygiene by regularly cleaning the eyelids and avoiding excessive touching or rubbing of the eyes.

Bacterial Infection: Styes are often caused by a bacterial infection, primarily by Staphylococcus aureus. If the bacteria persist or re-colonize the eyelid area, it can contribute to recurring styes. Factors that may promote bacterial growth include poor eyelid hygiene, shared or contaminated items such as towels or makeup, and self-contamination by touching or rubbing the affected eye.

Blepharitis: Blepharitis is a chronic inflammation of the eyelids that can contribute to the development of styes. It is often caused by an overgrowth of bacteria along the eyelid margin or dysfunction of the oil-producing glands in the eyelids. Blepharitis can lead to persistent irritation and clogging of the eyelid glands, increasing the likelihood of recurring styes.

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction: Dysfunction of the meibomian glands, which are responsible for producing the oily layer of tears, can contribute to style recurrence. When these glands become blocked or produce inadequate oil, it can result in dry eyes, inflammation, and an increased risk of stye formation.

Weakened Immune System: A weakened immune system can make individuals more susceptible to infections, including styes. Conditions that compromise the immune system, such as diabetes, autoimmune disorders, or chronic stress, can increase the likelihood of recurring styes.

Contact Lens Wear: Wearing contact lenses, especially if proper hygiene practices are not followed, can increase the risk of styes. Contact lenses can introduce bacteria or irritants to the eyes, leading to stye formation. It is crucial to follow recommended contact lens care guidelines and maintain good hygiene when using contact lenses.


Recurring styes in adults are often attributed to various factors, with one common cause being blepharitis. Blepharitis is characterized by inflammation of the eyelid margins, resulting in redness, stinging, and the presence of crusts or flakes along the lash line.

When blepharitis persists or remains untreated, it can lead to the blockage of oil glands, increasing the likelihood of styles. Other conditions such as dry eye syndrome, dermatitis, rosacea, Demodex mites, and meibomian gland dysfunction are also associated with both recurring styes and blepharitis.

High blood cholesterol levels can contribute to recurring hordeola as well. Elevated cholesterol levels cause the natural oils in the body to thicken, which can lead to more frequent and easier clogging of the eyelids’ oil glands.

Conditions that weaken the immune system can be a factor in recurring styes, and in some cases, recurrent hordeola can be an early sign of diabetes.

Personal hygiene practices can also play a role in recurring styes among adults. Neglecting to wash the face before sleep allows dirt and bacteria to penetrate deeper into the skin overnight. Additionally, unwashed hands can transfer various bacteria, including those from one’s face and body, to the eyes, leading to recurrent infections.

Furthermore, the improper use of antibiotic treatments can contribute to the recurrence of infections, including hordeola. It is crucial to strictly adhere to the prescribed antibiotic regimen and complete the entire course of treatment as directed by a healthcare professional.


The presence of a stye can cause significant discomfort and may impact one’s self-confidence due to its visible nature. As the duration for its presence is reviewed to fall between one to two weeks, it is recommended to consult an eye care professional if the infection exceeds this known range.


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