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JAMA Patient Page
January 14, 2020

Periorbital and Orbital Cellulitis

Author Affiliations
  • 1Stanford Hospital, Stanford, California
  • 2Pediatric Critical Care, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, St Petersburg, Florida
JAMA. 2020;323(2):196. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.18211

Periorbital cellulitis is an infection of the eyelid and area around the eye; orbital cellulitis is an infection of the eyeball and tissues around it.

Periorbital and orbital cellulitis are infections that most often occur in young children. The septum is a membrane that separates the front part of the eye from the back part of the eye. Periorbital cellulitis is also called preseptal cellulitis because it affects the structures in front of the septum, such as the eyelid and skin around the eye. Orbital cellulitis involves the eyeball itself, the fat around it, and the nerves that go to the eye. Both of these infections can be caused by bacteria that normally live on the skin or by other bacteria.