Periorbital Cellulitis

Periorbital cellulitis is a condition that is characterized by infection of the eyelids and of the skin surrounding the eyes. The infection generally occurs when microorganisms gain entry into the tiny tears of the skin in and around the eyes. The condition does not spread from one eye to the other. Children who are below six years of age are usually affected by periorbital cellulitis.

It is also important to note that the nasal sinuses may get affected by the infection resulting in sinusitis. The presence of mouth and deep tooth infections, eyelid lumps or sties and swelling or inflammation of the lachrymal gland, i.e. the gland which manufactures tears, can increase the vulnerability to developing periorbital cellulitis. It may be noted that periorbital cellulitis is dissimilar from orbital cellulitis, which is a more severe issue and can be a life threatening disorder.

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Types of periorbital cellulitis

As per the kind of soft tissue that is inflamed, periorbital cellulitis can be classified into two types. They are as follows:

  • Preseptal cellulitis: This type does not involve the eyeball, but affects the eyelids and the tissues that surround the eyes. It can travel to various regions of the face. However, the orbital septum, which is a membrane that divides the facial soft tissues from the orbit, aids in the prevention of infection of the orbit.
  • Preseptal periorbital cellulitis: It is a less severe type of periorbital cellulitis, as it does not involve the eye as well as the socket. However, it can travel to the orbit and is normally observed in younger children.

Periorbital cellulitis symptoms

Children generally aren’t able to detect the anomalies affecting their face, and hence it is the duty of the parents to see them. Parents should have enough knowledge about periorbital cellulitis and thus able to notice the distinct symptoms of the condition which affect the eyes and face of the infant. The signs are as follows:

  • Increased tenderness of the infected region
  • Pink eye or conjunctivitis
  • Swollen eyelids can be noticed
  • Presence of mild fever
  • Difficulties experienced by the child in opening the infected eyelid
  • Only a single eye is infected
  • The eye movements and vision abilities are impaired
  • The skin of the eye may develop red streaks
  • The affected child develops colds
  • Increased irritability of the child
  • Occasionally, a discharge from the eye can be seen

It is absolutely essential to consult a doctor, when a child with periorbital cellulitis:

  • Experiences photosensitivity
  • Experiences double or blurred vision
  • Reports chills and high fever
  • Reports seizure
  • Informs that there is increased stiffness of the neck and a decreased ability to move it

Causes of periorbital cellulitis

The causes of periorbital cellulitis are varied, but a few possible causes are listed below:

  • Skin injury, a tear or break in the skin
  • The expansion of the infection from dacryocystitis or paranasal sinuses
  • Infection that results from an insect or bug bite
  • Expansion of respiratory tract infection
  • Some of the agents that are majorly responsible for development of periorbital cellulitis include Staphylococcus Aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Steptococcus, certain anaerobic microorganisms and Haemophilus Influenzae.

Periorbital cellulitis treatment

  • Mild cases of periorbital cellulitis are treated by doctors with oral antibiotics that prevent health complications and destroy the pathogens. Co-amoxiclav and penicillin are often the antibiotics recommended by doctors. The infected children and adults may require an antibiotics dosage that lasts for 7 to 10 days.
  • Serious cases of periorbital cellulitis require hospitalization of the patient and intravenous administration of antibiotics, such as Ceftriaxone, for 2 to 3 days. After the treatment is over, affected individuals are prescribed oral antibiotics to prevent the reoccurrence of the condition.
  • The inflammation and pain can be alleviated with the use of ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory medications.
  • The presence of sties and lid abscesses may require consultation with an eye specialist so as to drain them
  • The affected individuals may also be given tetanus vaccines to prevent its onset. Tetanus is a serious infection caused due to puncture wounds and deep cuts that can lead to fatalities
  • Colds are treated with different drugs. Eye ointments or eye drops may also be recommended
  • The infected regions can find relief with the use of moist, warm compresses on them

It is important to note that a follow up, within a week or two, is often advised to ascertain the effect of the periorbital cellulitis treatment, though more often than not, the condition tends to disappear within a couple of days after treatment commences.

The affected child may also be recommended to use safety equipment to guard the face from further injuries, trauma or other lacerations. If a wound is found to be occurring, then that area should be washed daily with soap and water and kept clean and dry. The wound may also be covered with a dry bandage, so as to prevent the accumulation of bacteria and secondary infections of the wound.

A few home remedies that are particularly effective on adults with periorbital cellulitis are discussed below:

  • One can get relief from the eye infection by washing the affected areas, the eyes and face with coriander seeds
  • Tee tree oil and other kinds of oil with antibacterial qualities can aid faster recovery from periorbital cellulitis
  • The affected regions can be relaxed with warm compresses containing lavender, rose oil and chamomile
  • Application of a cloth soaked in aloe vera juice can also soothe the eye infection

Periorbital cellulitis Pictures


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