Orbital cellulitis is an infection of the fat and muscles around the eye. It affects the eyelids, eyebrows, and cheeks. It may begin suddenly or be a result of an infection that gradually becomes worse.
Orbital cellulitis is a dangerous infection, which can cause lasting problems. Orbital cellulitis is different than periorbital cellulitis, which is an infection of the eyelid or skin around the eye.
In children, it often starts out as a bacterial sinus infection from bacteria such as Haemophilus influenza. The infection used to be more common in young children, under the age of 7. It is now rare due to a vaccine that helps prevent this infection.
The bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and beta-hemolytic streptococci may also cause orbital cellulitis.
Orbital cellulitis infections in children may get worse very quickly and can lead to blindness. Medical care is needed right away.
Symptoms may include:
In most cases, a hospital stay is needed. Treatment most often includes antibiotics given through a vein. Surgery may be needed to drain the abscess or relieve pressure in the space around the eye.
An orbital cellulitis infection can get worse very quickly. A person with this condition must be checked every few hours.
With prompt treatment, the person can recover fully.
Complications may include:
Orbital cellulitis is a medical emergency that needs to be treated right away. Call your health care provider if there are signs of eyelid swelling, especially with a fever.
Getting scheduled HiB vaccine shots will prevent the infection in most children. Young children who share a household with a person who has this infection may need to take antibiotics to avoid getting sick.
Prompt treatment of a sinus or dental infection may prevent it from spreading and becoming orbital cellulitis.
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