Orbital cellulitis is an infection that affects the tissues that surround the eye which also include the eyebrow, cheek and eyelids. If not diagnosed and treated promptly, orbital cellulitis is serious enough to cause blindness and other complications such as hearing loss, meningitis and blood infections.
Painful swelling of either the eyelid, eyebrow and cheek
Fever greater than 102 degrees
Shiny red or purple eyelid
General feeling of discomfort
Though orbital cellulitis is becoming very rare because of the HiB vaccine, it’s still common for children around the ages of six and seven years old. People who have also recently suffered from an eyelid stye, bug bites or an eyelid injury have a greater chance of becoming infected with orbital cellulitis.
The three types of bacteria that cause the infection are Staphylococcus aureus, beta-hemolytic streptococci, and staphylococcus aureus.
Staphylococcus aureus is the most common bacteria that is found in staph infections. This bacteria is the most common reason for the inflammation to occur. The infection shouldn’t be taken lightly once you notice the symptoms. Without the proper medical care, this infection can quickly lead to blindness.
People who have had a respiratory infection, sinusitis, ocular or periocular infection, systemic infection or had had any trauma to the eye are at high risk of obtaining the orbital cellulitis infection.
There are many tests that are used to help determine if you’re suffering from an orbital cellulitis infection.
A CBC or a complete blood count is done to determine the number of red blood cells and white blood cells you have. They also look for the total amount of hemoglobin that you have in your blood.
A blood culture may also be done to check for any bacteria in your blood sample such as the staph and strep bacterium that often lead to orbital cellulitis.
For the extremely sick children, a spinal tap is commonly done. The doctor will need to insert a needle in your back to to collect cerebral spinal fluid.
Other tests such as a CT scan, MRI, or X-ray might have to be done of the sinuses and collecting cultures of the eye and nose drainage are also possibilities.
Treatment will need to be done at the hospital. Patients will be given antibiotics through a vein which are typically cephalosporins and penicillins but can also be treated with clindamycin, doxycycline and vancomycin.
After medicine is given and the patient starts showing signs of improvement after 48 hours, they’ll be released and prescribed oral antibiotics that need to be taken for two to three weeks.
If there’s little improvement or if the patient came in too late to receive antibiotic therapy, the doctor will have no other choice but to turn to surgery to drain out the abscess and the patient will have to remain under close observation.
In order to prevent orbital cellulitis, you need to make sure that you get your children into the doctor as scheduled to get their HiB vaccine. The vaccine helps to prevent most Haemophilus infections but even with the vaccine, adults and kids can still contract the infection through respiratory infections and eye trauma.
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