Often called a “stye” or “sty,” a hordeolum is a small, painful lump on the inside or outside of the eyelid, under the eyelid, or on the eyelash line. Most styes begin as a small spot, progressing to a red, tender and painful pimple that lasts a few days then bursts and heals. A stye actually is an abscess filled with pus. It is an infection caused by the blockage of an oil gland along or around the eye. This often is the result of bacteria that normally live on the skin, such as staphylococcus, getting trapped in the clogged oil gland. Styes are common among people with rosacea.

Usually visible on the surface, styes also can form deeper inside the eyelid. They may cause pain and redness, sensitivity to light, or watery eyes. Though styes can be painful and unattractive, they usually are harmless and rarely affect eyesight. If a stye doesn’t go away within a few days, scar tissue can develop around the clogged oil gland, leaving a permanent bump called a chalazion. In rare cases, a stye or chalazion may develop into cellulitis, a severe infection of the face. Preventing styes may require more advanced hygiene rituals for cleaning the eye area. 

The specialists at UAB Callahan Eye use the most advanced technology and are known for working together to treat the full range of both common and complex corneal problems. From cataract and corneal surgeries to highly specialized contact lenses, Callahan features the expertise, experience, and cutting-edge equipment needed to treat the most challenging corneal conditions. Patients come here from around the world and nation because we don’t just treat eye disease – we empower patients to take control of their eye health.

Callahan is the only full-service facility in Alabama specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of the eye and one of only a few worldwide that is entirely devoted to advancements in ophthalmology. That reputation is supported by 16 operating rooms dedicated to eye surgery and a 24/7 eye emergency room that is the region’s only Level I Ocular Trauma Center. More than 15,000 surgeries are performed at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital each year, and we conduct more reconstructive eye procedures than any other facility in the world.

Our facility is home to more than two dozen ophthalmologists, many of whom are named among the top doctors in their fields nationally. Callahan is widely recognized for excellence in patient care, having consistently earned prestigious awards from health care consulting group Press Ganey, and in 2017 Callahan was named as one of the “100 Great Places to Work in Healthcare” by Becker’s Hospital Review.

Callahan also is known for pioneering developments in surgical instruments, devices, and procedures used by ophthalmologists across the globe. As part of the UAB Medicine academic medical center, Callahan is actively involved in ongoing research and clinical trials. Many of our ophthalmologists have received funding from prestigious research organizations and institutions and collaborate in clinical care to bring the latest in scientific discovery to our patients.

Care Providers


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