What is periorbital cellulitis?

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Periorbital cellulitis involves infection of the tissues around the eye. The infection can be triggered by minor ordeal to the area surrounding the eye. It can also occur from another form of infection including sinusitis.


The condition can cause painful swelling and redness of the eyelid and skin surrounding the eyes. It occurs more often among children than adults. Periorbital cellulitis generally settles if treated early. It is effectively treated using antibiotics and close follow-up care. Nevertheless, it can become an issue if left untreated.

What are the indications?

The condition can cause painful swelling and redness of the eyelid and skin surrounding the eyes.

The indications of periorbital cellulitis might include:

  • Swollen eyelid
  • Redness around the eyelid
  • Swollen skin around the eye

The condition does not usually cause any visual issues or eye pain.

Management of periorbital cellulitis

Adults and older children can be managed with oral antibiotics including dicloxacillin and amoxicillin. It is vital to complete the prescribed course and follow the instructions given by the doctor.

Children younger than 4 years old should be taken to a hospital to be given antibiotics intravenously. A warm compress can also be used to ease the inflammation.

For severe cases or if orbital cellulitis develops, an ophthalmologist should be seen. The condition is managed using antibiotics intravenously. Close monitoring is required while in the hospital to ensure that the infection will not worsen. Surgery might be required in some cases to reduce the pressure that builds up in or around the eye.

What is the outlook?

The outlook for an individual with periorbital cellulitis is usually good if treatment is started right away. The condition is likely to improve rapidly once antibiotics are started.

When recovering from the condition, it is recommended to discard any makeup products or contact lenses that were used before the infection. Take note that these products might be contaminated by the bacteria responsible for periorbital cellulitis.

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