Orbital cellulitis is an infection of the tissues around the eyeball. The infection may spread from the sinuses, teeth, or bloodstream, or it may develop after an eye injury.


  • extreme pain
  • bulging eyes
  • reduced eye movement
  • swollen eyelids


If not adequately treated, orbital cellulitis can lead to blindness, infection of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis), or blood clots in the brain.


Doctors usually recognize orbital cellulitis without diagnostic tests. However, determining the cause may require an examination of the teeth and mouth as well as X-rays or computerized tomography (CT) scans of the sinuses. Samples from the lining of the eye and the skin, blood, throat, or sinuses may also be tested.


  • Oral antibiotics are used for mild cases; intravenous antibiotics for severe cases.
  • Surgery may be needed to drain the pocket of infection or to drain an infected sinus.
Written and reviewed by the MediResource Clinical Team