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Periorbital Cellulitis in Adults


What is periorbital cellulitis?

Periorbital cellulitis is an infection of the skin and tissues in the front of your eye. The infection can quickly cause vision problems. It can spread to your brain and cause meningitis. Periorbital cellulitis must be treated immediately to prevent serious complications.

Cellulitis of the Eye

What increases my risk for periorbital cellulitis?

  • Recent upper respiratory infection
  • Insect bite or animal bite around your eye
  • Infection and trauma to your eyelid
  • Infected eyelid cyst

What are the signs and symptoms of periorbital cellulitis?

Signs and symptoms are usually seen on one eye. You may have any of the following:

  • Red, swollen eyelids
  • Difficulty opening your eye
  • Eyelids that feel warm and hard
  • Tenderness of your eyelids
  • Fever

How is periorbital cellulitis diagnosed and treated?

Your healthcare provider will examine your eye, sinuses, and mouth. He will also test your eye movement and vision. You may need blood tests to check for a bacterial infection. A CT scan or MRI may show the location of infection or abscess. Antibiotics may be given to prevent or treat a bacterial infection. You may need to be admitted to the hospital if you develop a severe infection.

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Clean your eyes with warm water daily and as needed. Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you clean your eyes.
  • Do not scratch or rub your eyes.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You lose vision in your infected eye.
  • You have vision problems, such as double vision.
  • You have difficulty moving your eyeball.
  • You cannot close your eye due to swelling.
  • You have a fever.
  • You develop a headache and are vomiting.
  • You have a stiff neck.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your symptoms do not get better within 24 hours of treatment.
  • Your symptoms return.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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