A small area of redness and pain on the margin of your eyelid may indicate that you have a stye, known in medical terms as an external hordeolum. A stye is a blocked gland at the edge of the lid that has become infected by bacteria, usually Staphylococcus aureus.

The area of redness and pain will eventually form a 'point'. Until this occurs, warm compresses should be applied to the area for 20 minutes three-to-four times a day. The compresses should be followed by the application of an antibiotic ointment to the stye, available by prescription. Check with our optometrists before any medical regimen is commenced.

Once the stye has 'pointed', it can have contents that are expressed, after which the lids should be cleaned. Treatment with the ointment should be continued until symptoms have cleared. Sometimes it is necessary for the stye to be lanced to assist with expression by an eye doctor.