(See also Introduction to Eye Socket Disorders Introduction to Eye Socket Disorders The eye sockets (orbits) are bony cavities that contain and protect the eyes and their supporting structures (see figures An Inside Look at the Eye and Structures That Protect the Eye). Disorders... read more .)
Both preseptal cellulitis and orbital cellulitis Orbital Cellulitis Orbital cellulitis is infection affecting the tissue within the orbit and around and behind the eye. Infection can spread to the orbit from sources such as the sinuses around the nose. Symptoms... read more are more common among children. Preseptal cellulitis is far more common than orbital cellulitis. However, orbital cellulitis is more dangerous.
Preseptal cellulitis usually is caused by spread of an infection of the face or eyelid, an infected insect or animal bite, conjunctivitis, a hordeolum (stye), or sinusitis.
In people with preseptal cellulitis, tissues around the eye become swollen, warm, tender, and usually red. A fever may develop. Sometimes the eyelid is so swollen that it cannot be easily opened. However, once the eyelids are opened, the vision and eye movements are not impaired, and the eyeball is not bulging.
Doctors can often diagnose preseptal cellulitis by the person’s symptoms, but sometimes a potentially more serious infection, orbital cellulitis, may also be a possible diagnosis. If so, computed tomography Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) A variety of tests can be done to confirm an eye problem or to determine the extent or severity of an eye disorder. Each eye is tested separately. In general, angiography involves injecting... read more (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) A variety of tests can be done to confirm an eye problem or to determine the extent or severity of an eye disorder. Each eye is tested separately. In general, angiography involves injecting... read more (MRI) is done.
Treatment of preseptal cellulitis consists of antibiotics taken by mouth (for example, amoxicillin with clavulanate). If people have a severe infection or cannot take pills, hospitalization is recommended and antibiotics are given by vein. People should be monitored closely by an ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who specializes in eye disorders).