Are styes contagious?


Quick Answer

Eye styes, or hordeolum, are not contagious, but according to Michael Garin O.D., the bacteria that causes styes are transmittable. The eyes become infected when the individual rubs his eyes with dirty hands and fingers.

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Full Answer

New York University Langone Medical Center's Department of Pediatrics states that eye styes are a common condition in the United States. Other conditions increase the risk of developing eye styes, including chronic illness and poor eye hygiene. The symptoms of hordeolum are blurred vision and scratching and tearing of the eye. Internal eye styes can cause swelling and pain in the eye.

Dr. Garin suggests applying warm compresses to the affected eye for pain and inflammation relief. He also warns against squeezing of popping styes and advises those who wear contact lens to stop wearing contact lenses until the stye disappears.

To treat styes, Mayo Clinic notes antibiotic medications, including creams and eyedrops, are prescribed although antibiotics in pill form are available for patients whose infection does not resolve. A doctor or ophthalmologist can lance the stye to drain it if it does not do so on its own.

To prevent eye infections, Dr. Garin encourages patients to keep their eyes and eyelids clean, avoid sharing makeup, towels or other linens and avoid touching the eyes.

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