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External hordeolum – symptoms, treatment

External hordeolum – symptoms, treatment. The eyelids are musculo-cutaneous formations (have in their structure a muscular and skin layer), mobile, which close the anterior part of orbital cavity and protect the front of the eyeball.

In the structure of the eyelids are present a numerous sebaceous glands (Meibomian glands, located at the free edge of the eyelids and Zeiss glands located in the genes root) and sweat glands (Moll’s glands located in the root of genes).

In the sebaceous glands (glands of Zeiss) located in the root of hair follicle may develop acute inflammation caused by staphylococcus that is called external hordeolum or eye stye.

External hordeolum is a condition that occurs in all age groups, but affect with predilection children (infants and children).


From clinical point of view the condition begins with a swelling of the eyelid and feeling of tension, possible foreign body sensation. At palpation can be detected a painful point on the free eyelid. During evolution, this painful point turns into a endured, red outbreak (the feeling is hard). At these signs and symptoms can be added adenopathy (enlargement of the lymph nodes), preauricular (located in front of the ear) or submaxillary, which can be detected by palpation of these areas.

After 2-3 days, at the swelling level appears a yellowish point, which then turns into a pustule (circumscribed formation containing pus). This pustule breaks and creamy pus will flow from it.

After this process, all symptoms decrease in intensity, pain attenuates and disappears, swelling gradually reduces and ulceration becomes a scar.

Normally this condition has a benign evolution, of a few days. However, this infection can spread to other follicles producing a series of hordeolums. External hordeolum can be complicated with orbital cellulitis or dacriocystitis (acute or chronic inflammation of the lacrimal sac).


The treatment of hordeolum is both local and general. The local treatment consists in application of warm compresses to speed the evolution and collection and ophthalmic solutions containing antibiotics. General treatment consists in oral antibiotics.

If the hordeolum is collected, evacuation may be hastened by pulling cilia (genes) from the infected follicles and puncture (stick) with a needle.

The relapsing forms of hordeolum, as treatment may appeal to antistaphylococcal vaccine.


Regarding ways of prevention of the disease, they are related in some degree in personal hygiene (washing hands), so proper hygiene will reduce the risk of infection.

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