Our doctors can treat styes. Book your appointment now and speak with a doctor in minutes.
Alternatively you can refer yourself to a specialist Doctor without seeing a GP first.
Written by Medical Professional
Can be Treated Online
Appointments Available Today
Claudia Jackson (RN)
Dr Adam Abbs
Next Review: Jan 1, 2026
A stye (also known as a hordeolum) is a small abscess on the eyelid. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection. There are 2 types of stye:
Styes normally affect one eye at a time, but you can have more than one stye even on the same eyelid. Styes are not usually harmful and most styes clear up without treatment in 1 week.
Symptoms of a stye include:
Styes may have similar symptoms to other eye conditions.
If your eyes are sore, red, swollen, and watery, but there is no lump on your eyelid, you may have another condition such as blepharitis, allergy or conjunctivitis.
If you have a lump on your eyelid, but it’s not very painful, you may have a chalazion —a cyst on the eyelid that is caused by a blocked oil gland.
If you are not sure whether you have a stye, or another eye condition, make an appointment with a doctor.
Styes are usually caused by a bacteria called staphylococcus aureus that normally lives harmlessly on the skin. If this bacteria gets inside the skin it can cause an infection like an abscess, pimple, or stye.
Styes often occur for no apparent reason, but you may be more likely to get a stye if you touch or rub your eyes a lot.
You are more likely to get a stye if you:
Styes can contain large amounts of bacteria, so this can be spread to others, particularly the elderly, unwell or very young.
To help prevent spreading your stye to other people:
You can continue to go to work or school if you have a stye, but speak to your manager if you work with people who may be unwell, very young or elderly.
Most styes clear after 3 to 4 days and heal fully without treatment. You can ease symptoms like pain and swelling and help your stye heal faster by treating your stye at home.
Never try to burst your stye yourself. You may injure your eyelid, spread the infection, and make your stye worse.
Your GP may treat your stye by:
An online doctor can diagnose your stye by asking you some questions about your symptoms and examining your eye via video. They can offer advice on treating your stye at home and prescribe or recommend any necessary treatment. If your stye is severe they may advise you to see a specialist eye doctor, who may consider oral antibiotics, removing the eye lash or making an incision into the stye.
It’s easy to book an appointment with an NHS-trained GP at Medicspot. Simply click the link and select an appointment at a time and day that suits you. Appointments are often available the same day.
A pharmacist can advise you on treating your stye at home and recommend over-the-counter medications to ease your symptoms and help your stye heal faster. They can also advise you on when you should see a GP.
Styes are a common eye condition that normally clear up without treatment. You can usually treat your stye at home, but in some cases, you may need to see a doctor. If you have symptoms of a stye and would like to talk to a doctor, make an appointment today.
NHS: Stye February 26th 2021 (Accessed November 19th 2022)
American Academy of Ophthalmology: What Are Chalazia and Styes? September 9th 2022 (Accessed November 19th 2022)
Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust: Styes August 14th 2021 (Accessed November 19th 2022)
PubMed: Stye August 8th 2022 (Accessed November 19th 2022)
Cleveland Clinic: Stye October 13th 2021 (Accessed November 19th 2022)
Patient Info: Stye July 31st 2022 (Accessed November 19th 2022)
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