Orbital Cellulitis

Orbital Cellulitis

Orbital cellulitis is an infection of the tissues in the eyeball cavity caused by bacteria or fungi. This condition is more common in children than adults.

Orbital cellulitis in children 9 years and under is usually caused by a single type of bacteria. On the other hand, in adults, orbital cellulitis can be caused by more than one type of bacteria, making it more difficult to treat.

Orbital cellulitis is an eye emergency. Patients with this condition must undergo treatment with hospitalization.

Causes of Orbital Cellulitis

Orbital cellulitis is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. In most cases, this disease occurs due to infection with  Staphylococcus aureus bacteria , Streptococcus group bacteria  , and Haemophilus influenza .

Based on research, almost all cases of orbital cellulitis occur due to complications of  sinusitis . The infection then spread to the orbital septum, which is the membrane that separates the eyelid from the inside of the eye.

In some cases, orbital cellulitis can also occur due to a bacterial infection in other parts of the body that spreads to the eye, for example,  a tooth abscess .

Orbital cellulitis risk factors

Apart from  sinus infections , orbital cellulitis is more at risk for someone who has the following conditions or diseases:

  • Eye injury
  • Infection on the inside of the tooth
  • Skin infection  on the face or around the eyes
  • Just had eye surgery

Symptoms of Orbital Cellulitis

The symptoms of orbital cellulitis in children and adults are generally the same. It's just that, the symptoms that arise in children are often more severe than the symptoms in adults.

In general, the symptoms of orbital cellulitis are as follows:

  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Pain in the eye and around it
  • Pain when moving the eye
  • Discharge from the eyes or nose
  • Difficulty opening eyes
  • Red eye
  • Headache
  •  High fever
  • Double vision
  • Decreased pupil reaction

When to see a doctor

Don't delay seeing a  doctor  if you experience the symptoms of orbital cellulitis as mentioned above, especially if symptoms worsen. If not treated immediately, the infection can spread quickly and cause serious complications.

Diagnosis of Orbital Cellulitis

The doctor will ask about the symptoms experienced by the patient and continue with an eye examination. After that, the doctor will carry out supporting examinations in the form of:

  • Blood test , to detect the presence or absence of infection
  • Eye and nasal fluid cultures, to determine the type of bacteria that causes orbital cellulitis
  • CT scan  of the eye, to see swelling, collection of pus, or tears in the eye
  • MRI of the eye, to check for possible infection or blood clots in the eye

Treatment of Orbital Cellulitis

Patients with orbital cellulitis must be hospitalized. This is because patients need to get treatment and monitoring from doctors quickly. The treatment method given by the doctor depends on the patient's condition, including:


To treat the infection and prevent it from spreading, the doctor will inject antibiotics  into a vein. The antibiotics given are broad-spectrum antibiotics that can kill many types of bacteria.

Injectable antibiotics will be given for 1–2 weeks. After that, the doctor will give you antibiotics to drink for 2-3 weeks until the symptoms subside.

The doctor will also prescribe other medicines to treat the symptoms that arise. Some of these drugs include:

  • Paracetamol, ibuprofen, or NSAIDs , to reduce fever and reduce swelling and pain
  • Corticosteroids, to reduce redness and swelling in the eyes
  • Decongestants , to relieve nasal congestion due to sinus infections or other causes


If the antibiotics given are still unable to relieve symptoms, the doctor will perform surgery to remove fluid or abscesses from infected sinuses or eye bags.

Orbital cellulitis complications

If left untreated, orbital cellulitis can cause several serious complications, such as:

  • Hearing disorders
  • Blockage of blood flow to the retina
  • Blood clots in the cavity behind the eye
  • Blood stream infection
  • Meningitis
  • Decreased vision ability
  • Blindness

Prevention of Orbital Cellulitis

To prevent orbital cellulitis, wear eye protection when playing sports or when doing activities that are prone to causing eye injury.

If you experience sinusitis or toothache , follow the recommendations and therapy given by the doctor, and undergo treatment until the doctor says he is cured.

Check with your doctor if there are wounds or infections on the facial skin and around the eyes. In addition, keep your eyes clean by routinely cleaning eye make -up and avoiding rubbing your eyes .

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