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Periorbital cellulitis

Definition

Periorbital cellulitis is an infection of the tissues surrounding the eye.

Alternative Names

Preseptal cellulitis

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Periorbital cellulitis is most common in children under age 6.

It can be the result of minor trauma to the area around the eye, or it may extend from another site of infection, such as sinusitis.

Symptoms

There is generally redness and swelling of the eyelid and the surrounding area. Unlike orbital cellulitis (a more extensive infection involving deeper tissue), periorbital cellulitis does not cause the eyeball to protrude (proptosis) or limit its movements.

Calling your health care provider

Although periorbital cellulitis rarely has complications, any infection near the eye and close to the brain is potentially serious. It is important to call your doctor immediately if you think that you or your child may have periorbital cellulitis.

References

Bolognia J. Infections, hyper- and hypopigmentation, regional dermatology, and distinctive lesions in black skin. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 467.

Morelli JG. Cutaneous bacterial infections. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 664.


Review Date: 12/1/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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