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Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

Internal Medicine
Emory University
131 Answers
108,685 Helpful Votes

A stye (hordoleum) is inflammation of the eyelid, usually inside one of the small glands lining the eyelid. Most styes are caused by infection from bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus (“staph”), but some have no bacteria present.

Styes are not contagious, in the sense that you don’t “catch” a stye from someone who has one. Styes form as part of a more complicated process than simple contact, and the body’s natural defenses tend to block stye formation. Bacteria from a stye could be passed to someone else, but they would only rarely cause an infection in the receiving person.

The best way to avoid getting a stye, or transmitting bacteria to another person if you have one, is through regular hand hygiene. People with styes shouldn’t wear contact lenses or eye makeup until their stye is gone. Sharing contact lenses or eye makeup is best avoided, in general.

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

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