What are the treatment options for hordeolum (stye)?

Updated: Nov 19, 2018
  • Author: Michael P Ehrenhaus, MD; Chief Editor: Edsel Ing, MD, MPH, FRCSC  more...
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Hordeola are usually self-limited, spontaneously improving in 1-2 weeks.

Medical therapy for hordeola includes eyelid hygiene (lid scrubs), warm compresses of the lesions for 10 minutes 4 times per day, and topical antibiotic ointment in the inferior fornix if the lesion is draining or if there is an accompanying blepharoconjunctivitis. [9, 10] Nonsurgical remedies for hordeolum, although unproven, [11] do not seem to be harmful.

If an external hordeolum is centered around a lash follicle, the lash can be pulled to enhance drainage.

Systemic antibiotics may be indicated if the hordeola is complicated by preseptal cellulitis. Oral doxycycline may also be added if there is a history of multiple or recurrent lesions or if there is significant and chronic meibomitis.

Internal hordeola may occasionally evolve into chalazia, which may require topical steroids, intralesional steroids, or surgical incision and curettage. There is little to no evidence to suggest that acupuncture is beneficial. [12]

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