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Periorbital cellulitis is a bacterial infection that occurs around the eyelid. Also known as preseptal cellulitis or eyelid cellulitis, it is more common in children than in adults. Symptoms include fever, redness, and swelling of the eyelid. Adults are usually treated with oral antibiotics; when treating children, antibiotics are administered intravenously. However, adults with severe symptoms may require IV antibiotics as well.

What Is Periorbital Cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a skin infection characterized by swelling, redness, warmth, and pain. Periorbital cellulitis, also known as preseptal cellulitis or eyelid cellulitis, is an infection that occurs around the eyelid. This type is more common in children than adults.
 

Causes of Periorbital Cellulitis

Periorbital cellulitis is an infection that is caused by bacteria. The most common bacteria that cause the condition in adults are streptococcus and staphylococcus.
 
Prior to the Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) vaccine, the most common cause of periorbital cellulitis in children was Haemophilus influenzae type B. Now, there is not one single type of bacterium that is associated with this condition in children.
 

Understanding the Risk Factors

Cellulitis research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely to develop periorbital cellulitis. These risk factors include:
 
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Eye trauma
  • Insect bites.
     
While these risk factors are not causes of periorbital cellulitis, they do increase a person's chance of developing the infection.
 

Symptoms of Periorbital Cellulitis

Periorbital cellulitis symptoms occur at the location of the infected skin (local symptoms) or on other parts of the body (systemic symptoms).
 
Common local and systemic symptoms of periorbital cellulitis include:
 
  • Fever
  • Redness and swelling of the eyelid
  • Redness in the whites of the eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Eye swelling in front of the whites of the eyes (chemosis).

 

Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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