Your eye sits inside a sphere of bone that protects the eye and anchors the muscles that help the eye move. When the bone and tissues around the eye become infected, the condition is called orbital cellulitis.
Orbital cellulitis causes
The sinuses are hollow cavities inside the bones of the skull that are lined with mucus membranes. Orbital cellulitis is usually caused by a sinus infection that spreads to the surrounding bone and tissues. Other causes include:
• Dental infections
• Infections on the face
• Infections in other parts of the body that spread through the bloodstream
• Insect or animal bites near the eye
• Other trauma such as an injury or surgery near the eye
• Stye on the eyelid
Orbital cellulitis symptoms
Orbital cellulitis can be a very serious condition that can lead to blindness if left untreated. Symptoms include:
• Pain around the eyelid, eyebrow or cheek
• Discoloration of the skin around the eye – skin may look shiny, red, or purple
• Swelling of the eyelid and surrounding tissue, which may prevent the eye from opening
• Warm tissues or soreness around the eye
• Eye pain, especially when moving the eye, or limited ability to move the eye
• Difficulty seeing or blurry vision
• Bulging or swelling of the eye itself
When orbital cellulitis is caused by a sinus infection or sinusitis, nasal symptoms such as a runny nose, congestion, or nose bleeds may also be present.
Orbital cellulitis diagnosis and treatment
Children up to age 6 or 7 seem to be especially susceptible to this type of infection, however people of all ages can have orbital cellulitis. The condition is diagnosed based on patient history and a doctor’s exam. A CT scan or MRI may be ordered to confirm the infection and to make sure that there are no abscesses or pockets of infection in the bone. If an abscess is found, surgery to drain the infection may be necessary.