What is periorbital cellulitis?
Periorbital cellulitis is a serious infection of the tissues around the eye. The condition can be treated. It mostly affects only one eye and it does not spread to the other one. Your baby will not be able to tell you if his eye hurts, but if his eyelid appears swollen and red, then you need to call his doctor immediately.
What causes this?
Periorbital cellulitis usually occurs when bacteria causing an infection such as staphylococcus or streptococcus are introduced into the eyelid by a bug bite, a scratch, a sty or a chalazion.
Are there other symptoms?
If your baby has periorbital cellulitis, then he may have fever or have a runny nose or conjunctivitis, which is pinkeye. But he will be able to see clearly and move his eyes as well.
How is it evaluated and treated?
Depending on how bad the infection is, your baby's doctor will do cultures, blood work or X-rays, or she may also refer you to an ophthalmologist. If the diagnosis says periorbital cellulitis, then you should not be scared, as the condition can be treated with medicines and few visits to the doctor. Very small infants may need a special evaluation for infection and a short stay at the hospital.
The doctor may also put your child on oral antibiotics. She may give him a dose by injection in the office. She may want to follow the progress closely just to make sure that the drugs are working properly. So she may have you schedule an appointment in the next day or two, depending on how severe your baby's condition is. She may also schedule a follow-up visit after one or two weeks. The infection should be gone by this time. It can clear up in about 48 hours.
If your baby's symptoms start disappearing, then you must make sure that he still completes the entire course of antibiotics, as the infection could show up again. Meanwhile, the doctor may suggest you to give your baby acetaminophen to reduce pain or bring down any fever.
Are there any long-term effects?
Periorbital cellulitis if left untreated can trigger orbital cellulitis, which is a serious eye condition that involves the eyeball itself and the structures within the orbit, that is, the eye cavity or eye socket. This condition can affect your child's vision. He might be unable to move his eye. The condition usually causes the eye to bulge and sometimes even ... continue reading