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Important Info on Orbital Cellulitis

Symptoms of Orbital Cellulitis

Symptoms of orbital cellulitis occur at the location of the infected skin (local symptoms) or on other parts of the body (systemic symptoms).
 
Common local and systemic symptoms include:
 
  • Proptosis (a "bulging" eye)
  • Eye pain
  • Reduced eye movement
  • Chemosis (swelling of the membranes that line the eyelids and surface of the eye)
  • Decreased vision
  • Double vision.
 

How Is the Condition Diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider typically makes an orbital cellulitis diagnosis by asking questions about your medical history, performing a physical exam, and ordering certain tests. The physical exam will likely include an eye exam.
 
During the examination, your healthcare provider may also order a CT (computed tomography) scan to see how far the cellulitis has spread and whether sinusitis or an abscess is present.
 

Treatment for Orbital Cellulitis

The goal of orbital cellulitis treatment is to quickly treat the affected area and reduce the chances of a complication. Specific treatment options include antibiotics and surgery.
 
Antibiotics
Treatment for orbital cellulitis typically begins with antibiotics that are given through an IV in the hospital. Depending on the severity of the infection, the IV antibiotics may be switched to oral antibiotics after three to five days. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to penicillin -- one of the more common antibiotics prescribed for treatment.
 
Surgery
Surgery may be needed to prevent complications from occurring, such as permanent vision problems and blindness. Surgery may be necessary for people with orbital cellulitis that:
 
  • Does not respond to antibiotic treatment
  • Gets worse despite treatment
  • Causes decreased vision
  • Leads to certain types of abscesses (pus-filled cavities).
 

Cellulitis Types

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