What is included in emergency department (ED) care for hordeolum (stye)?

Updated: Oct 08, 2019
  • Author: Michael J Bessette, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Gil Z Shlamovitz, MD, FACEP  more...
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Warm soaks (qid for 15 min) are the mainstays of treatment.

Antibiotics are indicated only when inflammation has spread beyond the immediate area of the hordeolum. Topical antibiotics may be used for recurrent lesions and for those that are actively draining. Topical antibiotics do not improve the healing of surgically drained lesions. [1]  Systemic antibiotics are indicated if signs of bacteremia are present or if the patient has tender preauricular lymph nodes.

Surgical drainage of pointed lesions speeds the healing process. If the lesion points at a lash follicle, removal of that one eyelash hair may promote drainage and healing. Exercise caution when removing a lash, because removal of multiple lashes may result in disfigurement.

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