Orbital cellulitis

Surv Ophthalmol. 2018 Jul-Aug;63(4):534-553. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2017.12.001. Epub 2017 Dec 15.


Orbital cellulitis (OC) is an inflammatory process that involves the tissues located posterior to the orbital septum within the bony orbit, but the term generally is used to describe infectious inflammation. It manifests with erythema and edema of the eyelids, vision loss, fever, headache, proptosis, chemosis, and diplopia. OC usually originates from sinus infection, infection of the eyelids or face, and even hematogenous spread from distant locations. OC is an uncommon condition that can affect all age groups but is more frequent in the pediatric population. Morbidity and mortality associated with the condition have declined with advances in diagnostic and therapeutic options; however, OC can still lead to serious sight- and life-threatening complications in the modern antibiotics era. Therefore, prompt diagnosis and treatment remain crucial. Antibiotic coverage, computed tomography imaging, and surgical intervention when needed have benefitted patients and changed the disease prognosis. We review the worldwide characteristics of OC, predisposing factors, current evaluation strategies, and management of the disease.

Keywords: antibiotics; diagnosis; intracranial abscess; management; orbital abscess; orbital cellulitis; vision loss.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / complications
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / therapy
  • Humans
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures
  • Orbital Cellulitis* / diagnosis
  • Orbital Cellulitis* / etiology
  • Orbital Cellulitis* / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents