Periorbital Cellulitis – Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment, Home Remedies

What is Periorbital Cellulitis?

Periorbital cellulitis occurs when the eyelids and skin that surrounds the eyes are infected. This is due to infection made by pathogenic microorganisms that enter in the breaks of the skin in the eye. It doesn’t travel from one infected eye to the other. This medical condition affects children under the age of six. However, the inflammation can spread to the nasal sinuses causing sinusitis. A child’s risk of periorbital cellulitis can be increased when deep tooth and mouth infections are present, there is presence of styes or eyelid bumps, and the lacrimal gland (the gland that produces tears) is swollen.

Periorbital cellulitis should not be confused with orbital cellulitis. Orbital cellulitis is a more serious problem and can be a life-threatening condition. The infection in orbital cellulitis is found on the septum of the orbit and is considered an ophthalmic emergency.

There are two different kinds of periorbital cellulitis, depending on the soft tissue infected:

  1. Preseptal cellulitis – this involves the eyelids and the tissues around the eye, but not affecting the eyeball. This type of infection can spread to different parts of the face, but the orbital septum, the membrane that separates the orbit from the facial soft tissues, helps keep the orbit from being affected.
  2. Preseptal periorbital cellulitis – this is less serious since it doesn’t affect the eye and socket, but it can spread to the orbit and it is always seen in small children.

Periorbital Cellulitis Causes

There are different causes of periorbital cellulitis:

  1. Skin trauma or a break or laceration in the skin
  2. Infection brought about by a bug or insect bite
  3. Spread of infection from paranasal sinuses or dacryocystitis
  4. Infection from the respiratory tract

Common causative agents in periorbital cellulitis are Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus Aureus, Haemophilus Influenzae, Steptococcus and some anaerobic microorganisms.

Periorbital Cellulitis Symptoms

Children can’t tell if they are having abnormalities in their body, therefore it is up to parents to notice them. Parents should be able to observe marked changes in the face and in the eyes of the child. The symptoms manifested are:

  • Tenderness around the affected area
  • Swelling of eye lids
  • Conjunctivitis or pink eye
  • Low grade fever
  • Only one eye is affected
  • The child has difficulty in opening the affected eye lid
  • There are red streaks on the skin of the eye
  • The child becomes agitated
  • The child has colds
  • In some cases there may be the presence of drainage coming from the eye
  • The child’s eye movements and ability to see are affected

Immediate help is needed when:

  • The child reports blurred or double vision
  • The child reports photosensitivity
  • The child experiences high fever and chills
  • The child reports that his or her neck feels stiff and is unable to move it
  • The child experiences seizure


When the patient is brought to the hospital, an ophthalmologist will determine if the patient is suspected to have cellulitis in the eye area. During this consultation, the patient’s medical history will be taken to determine the origin of the infection, any recent sinus infection or dental problems. A physical exam will also be done to check deviations and abnormalities in the affected area. The following laboratory and diagnostic tests may also be needed to diagnose periorbital cellulitis:

Blood Tests – This is done to determine what type and what kind of bacteria causes the infection.
Drainage culture – Same as with blood tests, this is done to determine the pathogen involved

Computed Tomography scan – This test will visualize your child’s eye structure such as the bones, muscles and blood vessels around the eyes. A dye can be introduced to help in visualization. It is important to first check the child’s history of allergies to seafood and iodine to prevent any anaphylactic reactions.

Periorbital Cellulitis Treatment

Periorbital cellulitis treatments include:

  • Giving of antibiotics for periorbital cellulitis.

For mild cases, oral antibiotics are prescribed to kill the pathogenic microorganism and prevent complications. Some of the antibiotics prescribed are: penicillin and co-amoxiclav. They may be required to be taken for seven to ten days for adults and children affected.

When cases are severe, the patient will be admitted to the hospital and intravenous antibiotics will be given for two to three days. One such antibiotic is Ceftriaxone. Once the treatment is finished, the patient will revert to oral antibiotics to prevent the disease from recurring.

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen are also given to reduce the child’s pain and inflammation.
  • Medications for colds and eye drops or ointments are also prescribed.
  • Tetanus vaccines are also given to prevent tetanus, a life-threatening infection because a child can acquire it from deep cuts and puncture wounds.
  • Warm, moist compresses can also help soothe the affected area.
  • For cases where there is lid abscess or a sty, an eye specialist is needed to drain it.

To determine the effect of the treatment, the physician may require a follow-up visit, a week or two later, by which time the infection should be long gone. This infection may clear up in as little as 48 hours.

It is also important for the child to wear safety equipment to protect their face from injury. This is to guard the face from lacerations and trauma. In the event that a wound is present, it is advised to clean the affected area and keep it dry. The use of soap and water is enough, and covering the wounds with a dry bandage. This is to prevent open skin wounds from harbouring bacteria.

Home Remedies

For adults, home remedies are suggested since they can determine which type is actually effective for them.

  • The use of coriander seeds to wash the eyes and face is essential to eye infection relief.
  • Warm compresses of rose oil, lavender and chamomile help soothe the affected area.
  • Oils with antibacterial properties such as tee tree oil can help with a faster recovery from the infection.
  • Soaking of cloth in aloe vera juice can also help relax the infected eye.

Is Periorbital Cellulitis Contagious?

Periorbital cellulitis itself is not contagious, but the bacteria that cause periorbital cellulutis can cause other infections, especially if it gets into the bloodstream.


Periorbital Cellulitis eye normal eye pictures

Picture of normal eye and periorbital cellulitis eye comparison

Periorbital Cellulitis Pictures 2

Picture of swelling, redness in children of periorbital cellulitis patients

Periorbital Cellulitis Pictures

Periorbital Cellulitis Image in women teenager (right eye)

Periorbital Cellulitis diagnosis

Periorbital cellulitis diagnosis (look at the redness and odema of eye)

purulent discharge from periorbital cellulitis eye

Purulent discharge from periorbital cellulitis eye

severe condition of periorbital cellulitis

Severe form of periorbital cellulitis

ct scan showing periorbital cellulitis

CT scan (brain) showing periorbital cellulitis

Also read -

What Evidence Tell Us About the Management of Periorbital Cellulitis?

Proofreaded by Dr. Mydhili on 27/08/2012.

19 Responses to “Periorbital Cellulitis – Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment, Home Remedies”

  • rald says:

    I happen to experience that condition upon my medical duty. I am a third year medical student. The patient I was assigned of had been diagnosed with orbital cellulitis. The cause of the orbital cellulitis is bacterial infection. My patient had swelling of his eyelids and had problems with vision. According to his medical history, upon birth he was not given any Hepatitis B shots since he lived in a place that offers little medical assistance and, according to his mom, the clinic where she bore his son during that time had lacking of Hepatitis B vaccine so his son was unfortunately not given. His son is now in antibiotic therapy.

    • Dr.Maria says:

      Thank you for viewing our page. Actually, with the protocol that every child should be vaccinated at birth with the Hepatitis B Vaccine to prevent any Hepatitis B associated disease such as orbital cellulitis. There are also reported cases of this kind of disease in adults. It is caused by staphylococcus and streptococcus infection.

  • Laura says:

    This article talks only about children having this – don’t adults have this issue? I was diagnosed with – I spent 3+ days in the hospital hoooked up to IV’s getting antibioctis – thanks
    I am 56 years old

  • Erika says:

    I think I’m experiencing this problem because i have most of hte symtomps but i need to know what kind of dr. i need to go see is it a dermatologist?

  • Anonymous says:

    My son was 14 months when he had signs of pink eye. He was seen by his doctor. She treated him for pink eye. It was periorbital cellulitis. He was getting worse. Spiking temperatures. He was given the advice from the doctor’s to put warm packs on eye. To make a long story short. We took him to the emergency. It was streptococcus infection. He almost died. They told us he wasn’t going to make it. They had to debrea tissue from his lower eye lid. He is now 17 years old. He has gone thru multiple surgeries to recontruct his lower eye lid. So don’t hesitate and even get a second opinion and use your natural instinct when you feel something is not right. Our doctor mistreated our son and he almost died from it. If he was put on antibiotics right away he would of lost no tissue and almost his life. I hope this is helpful to some that may be going thru something similar. My son was current on his shots and had no signs of scratches or even a bug bite. It started out like a swollen eye and got worse quickly. One thing to keep in mind is if you are running temperature and have swelling and redness. And is the area feels hot to the touch.

    • manjit kaur says:

      My darling son, Eshyer (18 months) died in Bedford England due to orbital cellulitis which lead to streptococcus infection in 2006, . It started with pinkish left side of face and eye, with buiding up fever. The GP in Cranfield did not cautioned us, and assume it was conjuntivites. That was thursday evening. HIs fever got worst on friday and eye swelled up.My son passed away Sat morn while we rushed him to emergency as he started fidgeting after vomiting out his meal. We were so shocked. only knew this after post mortem…that it was meningitis due to infection from orbital cellulitis.

  • sonya says:

    My grand-daugther was diagnosed with periorbital cellulitis on the 21/7/12 she has had 3 types of surgery and finally went home on PICC AB’s (Benzylpenicillin) and to me after 3weeks you would think that the AB’s would be doing their job but I feel that she is becoming emune to them, what should we do next any ideas!

    • Dr. Cathy says:

      Hi Sonya! I am an ophthalmologist so probably I can help answer your question. Are you pertaining to your granddaughter being resistant to the medication? What made you say so? Is she still having the infection, despite the medication? Well, first, you need to check the time of administration. Make sure that you give them on time to allow the blood to have the minimum level of the antibiotic. if not, the bacteria may just be lessening in amount when you give the drug and the wrong time interval before the next dose will just be allowing them grow further. Also, your granddaughter may have been prescribed that drug before and developed resistance. it is best to have a follow up from your granddaughter’s doctor to check if she needs another form of antimicrobial medication and check if she had further infection.

  • Signs & Symptoms Pink Eye : Improve Eyesight Without Glasses says:

    [...] 18.Periorbital Cellulitis – Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment, Home Remedies Images, Symptoms, Signs, Causes, Risk factors, Contagious, Treatment, Home Remedies. … Pictures; Comments (7) … of eye lids; Conjunctivitis or pink eye; Low grade fever; Only one eye is affected … The child reports blurred or double vision; The child reports photosensitivity; The child experiences high fever and chills … [...]

  • Inflammation of the Eyelid : Improve Eyesight Without Glasses says:

    [...] 19.Periorbital Cellulitis – Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment, Home Remedies Pictures; Comments (7). Tweet … Tenderness around the affected area; Swelling of eye lids; Conjunctivitis or pink eye … The child reports blurred or double vision; The child reports photosensitivity; The child experiences high fever and chills … [...]

  • shakira gray says:

    I had intentionally thought that I had a corneal abrasion, due to the pain I went to the ER. When I was told it was cellulitis, I was give an oral ab and a gram type ab for my eye, 4 days later, I can see out of it but it still hurts and I did not stop treatment. But I keep it covered. Cannot wait for d 5!

  • shakira gray says:

    Also wondering if it can travel from one eye to the next and if it is just bloodborne?

    • Dr. Amarendra says:

      Periorbital cellulitis can travel from one eye to another especially if it is caused by infection. Be cautious on holding on your eyes or eyelids to prevent cross contamination..

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  • Katie says:

    My son was admitted to hospital on 6th December following 2 other infections and periorbital cellulitis. He was spiking temperatures of nearly 40. He was lathargic and delirious. Since then, yesterday he woke with swelling and redness in one eye and this morning both eyes are affected. He’s been to the doctors today and been given eye drops and more antibiotics. Why from 6th December and now, is he getting the same infection?
    Why are they recurrent?

  • Deanna says:

    Hi my 18mth old had blocked tear ducts from birth. He had them probed about 4mths ago and it failed. He kept getting eye infections, so I took him back to his eye dr to decide if we should do another probing and because he kept getting eye infections. She gave him some drops for his eye and it cleared up within about 4 days. The last day we were on his drops he woke up with a swollen eye. I took him in and they cultured it and put him on oral antibiotics. I am terrified he will go blind. He has been on the oral antibiotics for 4 days and his right eye is starting to look better, but now his left eye is red. Does that mean the antibiotics aren’t working? He has had staph aureus in the past actually just about a month ago. it isn’t MRSA, now the drs are telling me he might have had the staph this whole time in his eyes! Has anyone ever gone blind even though they are being treated? I feel very helpless, no one seems to know what to do for my little boy.

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