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Eyelid bump


Alternative Names:

Bump on the eyelid; Stye; Hordeolum

Causes:

A stye is caused by a blockage of one of the oil glands in the eyelids. This allows bacteria to grow inside the blocked gland. Styes are a lot like common acne pimples that occur elsewhere on the skin. You may have more than one stye at the same time.

Styes most often develop over a few days. They may drain and heal on their own. A stye can become a chalazion, which occurs when an inflamed oil gland becomes fully blocked. If a chalazion gets large enough, it can cause trouble with your vision.

If you have blepharitis (see eye redness), you are more likely to get styes.

Other possible common eyelid bumps include:

  • Xanthelasma: Raised yellow patches on your eyelids that can happen with age. These are harmless, although they are sometimes a sign of high cholesterol.
  • Papillomas: Pink or skin-colored bumps. They are harmless, but can slowly grow, affect your vision, or bother you for cosmetic reasons. If so, they can be surgically removed.
  • Cysts: Small fluid-filled sacs that can affect your vision.
Symptoms:

In addition to the red, swollen bump, other possible symptoms include:

Exams and Tests:

In most cases, your health care provider can diagnose a stye just by looking at it. Tests are rarely needed.

Outlook (Prognosis):

Styes often get better on their own. However, they may return.

The outcome is almost always excellent with simple treatment.

Sometimes, the infection may spread to the rest of the eyelid. This is called eyelid cellulitis and may require oral antibiotics.

When to Contact a Medical Professional:

Call your health care provider if:

  • You have problems with your vision
  • The eyelid bump worsens or does not improve within a week or two of self-care
  • The eyelid bump or bumps become very large or painful
  • You have a blister on your eyelid
  • You have crusting or scaling of your eyelids
  • Your whole eyelid is red, or the eye itself is red
  • You are very sensitive to light or have excessive tears
  • Another stye comes back soon after successful treatment of a stye
  • Your eyelid bump bleeds
Prevention:

Always wash your hands very well before touching the skin around your eye. If you are prone to getting styes or have blepharitis, it may help to carefully clean off excess oils from the edges of your lids. To do this, use,a solution of warm water and no-tears baby shampoo.

References:

Shields CL, Lally SE, Shields JA. Tumors of the eyelids. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Ophthalmology 2013. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2013:vol 4, chap 3.

Wright JL, Wightman JM. Red and painful eye. In Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2013:chap 22.

Yanoff M, Cameron D. Diseases of the visual system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 431.


Review Date: 9/2/2014
Reviewed By: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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