Orbital cellulitis is an infection around the eye. It affects the muscles and soft tissues around the eye.
It is a serious problem that will need treatment. If it is not treated, it can lead to blindness and nerve damage of the face.
A bacteria causes the infection, it may come from:
- An injury to the area—enters through broken skin
- An infection in other area of the body like sinuses or mouth
This infection is more common in children. Factors that increase the risk of getting orbital cellulitis include having:
- Severe sinus or tooth infections
- Infection of the bloodstream
- Injury or surgery in the area
Symptoms of orbital cellulitis include:
- Bulging eye
- Painful eye movements
- Tender or warm tissues around the eye
- Swollen eyelids
- Difficulty seeing when the eyelid is swollen
- Runny nose
- Double vision
- Blurry vision
The doctor will examine the eyes, teeth, and mouth. You will be asked about your health history. This is often enough info to make a diagnosis.
To look for the cause of the infection your doctor may also do the following:
- Blood tests
- Test fluid samples from the lining of your eye, nose, and throat
Images can show how far the infection has spread. Tests may include:
Orbital cellulitis can get worse fast. A hospital stay is often needed. This will allow rapid change in treatment as needed.
Medication used to treat orbital cellulitis include:
- Antibiotics—to treat the infection
- Diuretics or eye drops—to help decrease pressure within the eyeball
- Corticosteroids pills—to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain
Pus may need to be drained. It may be taken from an infected sinus or orbit.
Treat sinus or dental infections right away. This may prevent the spread to the eyes. Hib B vaccine may also help to protect children.
- Reviewer: David Horn, MD
- Review Date: 05/2018 -
- Update Date: 08/23/2018 -