SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
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Signs and symptoms of a sty include:
- A red lump on your eyelid that is similar to a boil or a pimple
- Eyelid pain
- Eyelid swelling
- Crusting around the eyelids
Another condition that causes inflammation of the eyelid is a chalazion. A chalazion occurs when there's a blockage in one of the small oil glands at the margin of the eyelid, just behind the eyelashes. The gland can become infected with bacteria, which may also cause a red, swollen eyelid. Unlike a sty, a chalazion tends to be most prominent on the inner side of the eyelid. Treatment for both conditions is similar.
When to see a doctor
Most sties are harmless to your eye and won't affect your ability to see clearly. Try self-care measures first, such as applying a warm washcloth to your closed eyelid for 10 to 15 minutes several times a day. Contact your doctor if:
- The sty doesn't start to improve after 48 hours
- Redness and swelling extend beyond your eyelid and involve your cheek or other parts of your face
- Riordan-Eva P, et al. Vaughan & Asbury's General Ophthalmology. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=720. Accessed April 26, 2012.
- What Are Chalazia and Styes? American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/chalazion-stye.cfm. Accessed April 25, 2012.
- What you need to know about contact lens hygiene and compliance. American Optometric Association. http://www.aoa.org/x8024.xml. Accessed April 26, 2012.
- Chalazion and hordeolum. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/eye_disorders/eyelid_and_lacrimal_disorders/chalazion_and_hordeolum.html. Accessed April 26, 2012.
- Eye cosmetic safety. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductInformation/ucm137241.htm. Accessed April 26, 2012.
- Robertson DM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 3, 2012.