Alternate Names : Bump on the eyelid, Stye
Most bumps on the eyelid are styes. A stye is an inflamed oil gland on the edge of your eyelid, where the lash meets the lid. It appears as a red, swollen bump that looks like a pimple. It is tender, especially to the touch.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
A stye is caused by bacteria from the skin that get into the oil glands in the eyelids that provide lubrication to the tear film. Styes are similar to common acne pimples that occur elsewhere on the skin. You may have more than one stye at the same time.
Styes usually develop over a few days and may drain and heal on their own. A stye can become a chalazion — this is 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 eyelid bumps include:
- Xanthelasma — raised yellow patches on your eyelids that can happen with age. These are harmless, although they are occasionally 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.
Pictures & Images
The eye is the organ of sight, a nearly spherical hollow globe filled with fluids (humors). The outer layer or tunic (sclera, or white, and cornea) is fibrous and protective. The middle tunic layer (choroid, ciliary body and the iris) is vascular. The innermost layer (the retina) is nervous or sensory. The fluids in the eye are divided by the lens into the vitreous humor (behind the lens) and the aqueous humor (in front of the lens). The lens itself is flexible and suspended by ligaments which allow it to change shape to focus light on the retina, which is composed of sensory neurons.
A stye is a relatively common infection. Styes are often caused by staphylococcus and occur in the glands that open onto the lid margin. They are red, swollen, and painful.
Review Date : 11/10/2008
Reviewed By : Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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