Which physical findings are characteristic of periorbital cellulitis?

Updated: Jul 31, 2018
  • Author: Bobak Zonnoor , MD; Chief Editor: Gil Z Shlamovitz, MD, FACEP  more...
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Examination may reveal the following:

  • Unilateral erythema, swelling, warmth, and tenderness of the lids without evidence of orbital congestion (proptosis, decreased extraocular movement, blurry vision, ophthalmoplegia, chemosis), as demonstrated in the image below

    Periorbital cellulitis. This image shows an 8-year Periorbital cellulitis. This image shows an 8-year-old patient who presented with unilateral eyelid swelling and erythema.
  • Fever

  • Vesicles - If associated with herpetic infection

  • Violaceous discoloration of the lid - More commonly associated with H influenzae but may be associated with infection with S pneumoniae. [51]

  • If associated with trauma, there may be a break in the skin overlying the area of cellulitis.

  • The eye itself is not involved, so pupillary reaction and visual acuity are preserved.

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