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What is Periorbital Cellulitis?

By Jacob Queen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Periorbital cellulitis is an infection of the skin surrounding the area of the eye. It is usually caused by an internal bacterial infection like pink eye or a sinus infection that spreads to the outer skin. Most of the people affected by periorbital cellulitis are children. This can be a dangerous condition because of certain complications, and doctors usually hospitalize children who are diagnosed with it.

The symptoms of periorbital cellulitis include swollen and reddened eyelids, lessened mobility of the eyeball, poor vision, and fever. Some patients have a condition called conjunctivitis, which involves redness in the white part of the eye. Many people also experience a general sense of pain or discomfort in the area of the eye, and this can also involve a feeling of warmth in the skin around the eyelids.

This condition is generally caused by a bacterial infection spreading out of the eye, but it can also happen from an infected cut near the eye. The most common bacteria that cause it are haemophilus influenzae, staphylococcus aureus, and streptococcus pyogenes. These are mostly the same kinds of bacteria that cause a host of frequent internal sicknesses that people experience on a daily basis.

Upper respiratory infections, eye trauma, and the bites of certain insects are all known to increase a person’s risk of periorbital cellulitis. None of these has been identified as a direct cause of the illness, but each tends to increase the chances of infection. These risk factors can be important in terms of diagnosis, and doctors will often ask patients about their health history in order to determine if they have any risk factors.

Blood tests and a general examination are the most common diagnostic procedures. Once a physician establishes the presence of periorbital cellulitis, they will generally take it very seriously. Antibiotics are the most common treatment method. Younger children are often admitted to the hospital and administered their antibiotic doses with an intravenous, or IV, tube. Adults are usually given oral antibiotics, but if the symptoms are severe enough, they might also have to take them through an IV.

The real danger that doctors fear in cases of periorbital cellulitis is a condition called orbital cellulitis. This is a very dangerous condition that can lead to blindness and even brain damage. Anytime a person is diagnosed with periorbital cellulitis, there is a danger of it spreading and becoming orbital cellulitis, and this makes doctors cautious.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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