Orbital Cellulitis Definition

Orbital Cellulitis – inflammation and swelling of the tissues surrounding the eye, including the eyelids. Orbital cellulitis requires emergency medical attention. Delayed treatment can result in permanent vision loss.

Causes of Orbital Cellulitis

The most common causes of Orbital Cellulitis are infections that affect the eyelids such as hordeolum and blepharitis, dacryocystitis (infected tear duct), and infections of adjacent structures such as sinusitis (sinus infection), pharyngitis (throat infection), tooth abscess, and occasionally otitis media (middle ear infection).

Insect bites that become infected also can cause orbital cellulitis. Orbital cellulitis may affect one eye or both eyes, depending on the underlying cause. The eyelids typically swell closed and may appear bruised, with considerable PAIN as well as inability to see. Often there is a moderate fever (above 102ºF) and exophthalmos (bulging of the eye).

Diagnosis of Orbital Cellulitis and treatment

The diagnostic path of Orbital Cellulitis includes assessment of visual acuity and visual field, to the extent possible, as well as computed tomography (ct) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (mri) to visualize the extent of the infection and determine its site of origin.

Treatment of Orbital Cellulitis is immediate intravenous antibiotic medications with hospitalization until fever and swelling subside. Prompt and appropriate treatment improves the likelihood for full recovery and restored vision. Complications can include increased intraocular pressure, which is damaging to the retina and optic nerve.

Because the optic nerve presents a direct channel to the brain, infectionalso may spread to cause meningitis or encephalitis.


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