What is Periorbital Cellulitis

Periorbital Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a bacterial skin infection that is caused by a break in the skin. Periorbital cellulitis is an infection that occurs near the eyes. The ‘periorbital’ area is the skin around the eye. It can be especially susceptible to cellulitis infection.

The majority of these infections are usually not serious; however they do have the possibility of leading to orbital cellulitis which can cause serious complications. Generally, periorbital cellulitis is more common in children than in adults.


Main Causes of Periorbital Cellulitis

The acute cause of periorbital cellulitis is a bacterial infection that breaks through the skin. This tends to be either staph or steph. However, for children, it can be other forms of bacteria and historically there was a high incidence of Haemophilus influenzae type B bacteria infections.

However, there has since been a vaccination which has dramatically reduced this type of infection. Trauma to the eyelid and the skin around this area can increase the chances of an infection. Additionally, an insect bite on this area that is scratched can also allow the skin barrier to become weaker.


Typical Signs and Symptoms

The most common symptoms of periorbital cellulitis are swelling and redness in the affected area. There may also be a cut or a scratch around the eye. The skin in this area will usually feel tender to touch. Additionally, the skin may feel tough. Periorbital cellulitis usually doesn’t cause a fever. A doctor can make a quick diagnosis. They will usually have a quick look into the eyes for any signs of injury. Additionally, they may collect a blood sample to confirm the presence of bacteria. Treatment usually consists of antibiotics. These are usually given orally but are also available intravenously.


Periorbital Cellulitis Images

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Potential Complications

Although this condition is usually not serious, there are a number of potential complications that can arise. A more serious condition known as orbital cellulitis can occur. This is where the infection reaches the eye. This condition causes serious pain and fever. Serious infections can cause vision loss.

Some cases can require surgery if an abscess has developed. However, the majority of risks can be mitigated if treatment begins early. It is essential to see a medical professional at the first signs of periorbital cellulitis. The condition can develop quickly.


Preventative Measures

It is fairly straightforward to reduce your chances of developing periorbital cellulitis. The condition mainly spreads through contact. It is important to maintain regular hygiene on a daily basis. This means washing hands thoroughly with soap and the avoidance of touching the eye area. The condition affects children more. Therefore, it is important to educate them on basic hygiene. Furthermore, they should have their eyes regularly inspected for any signs of infection.

It is essential to treat any insect bites or minor injuries as soon as they occur. Delaying treatment, and keeping wounds unclean is one way that the skin becomes vulnerable to infection.


Merck Manual
PubMed Health

Image credit: DepositPhotos.com

Last article update: 02/21/2019