Orbital abscess is frequently used in its broadest sense to include all types of acute inflammation of the walls and soft tissues of the orbit. Such usage has the virtue of brevity and is perhaps proper in such a review as this. However, in actual clinical work it is of the greatest practical importance to differentiate between a true abscess in the retrobulbar space and a disease limited to the rim or wall of the orbit, such as periostitis, osteomyelitis or subperiosteal abscess. All these conditions may produce the characteristic signs of acute swelling of the lid, proptosis, deep orbital pain and fever. In addition, simple congestion of the orbital veins due to swelling of the mucous membrane in the ethmoid sinuses, as well as extensive spreading thrombophlebitis of the orbital venous system, may produce the same characteristic signs.
Ophthalmologists of fifty or seventy-five years ago were aware
GAMBLE RC. ORBITAL ABSCESSES. Arch Ophthalmol. 1937;18(4):633–641. doi:10.1001/archopht.1937.00850100149012
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