Periorbital cellulitis is an infection of the eyelid or skin around the eye.
Periorbital cellulitis can occur at any age, but more commonly affects children younger than 5 years old.
This infection can occur after a scratch, injury, or bug bite around the eye, which allows germs to enter the wound. It can also extend from a nearby site that is infected, such as the sinuses.
Periorbital cellulitis is different than orbital cellulitis, which is an infection of the fat and muscles around the eye. Orbital cellulitis is a dangerous infection, which can cause lasting problems and deeper infections.
This condition does not often affect vision or cause eye pain.
Exams and Tests
The health care provider will examine the eye and ask about the symptoms.
Tests that may be ordered include:
Antibiotics are given by mouth, by shots, or through a vein (intravenously; IV) to help fight the infection.
Periorbital cellulitis almost always improves with treatment. In rare cases, the infection spreads into the eye socket, resulting in orbital cellulitis.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your provider right away if:
Durand ML. Periocular infections. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 116.
Olitsky SE, Marsh JD, Jackson MA. Orbital infections. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 652.
Review Date: 11/9/2019
Reviewed By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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