Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link

Preseptal Cellulitis

(Periorbital Cellulitis)


James Garrity

, MD, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science

Last full review/revision Aug 2021| Content last modified Aug 2021
Click here for the Professional Version
Topic Resources

Preseptal cellulitis is infection of the eyelid and skin and tissues around the front of the eye.

Both preseptal cellulitis and orbital cellulitis Orbital Cellulitis Orbital cellulitis is infection affecting the tissue within the orbit and around and behind the eye. Infection can spread to the orbit from sources such as the sinuses around the nose. Symptoms... read more Orbital Cellulitis are more common among children. Preseptal cellulitis is far more common than orbital cellulitis. However, orbital cellulitis is more dangerous.

Preseptal cellulitis usually is caused by spread of an infection of the face or eyelid, an infected insect or animal bite, conjunctivitis, a hordeolum (stye), or sinusitis.

Symptoms of Preseptal Cellulitis

In people with preseptal cellulitis, tissues around the eye become swollen, warm, tender, and usually red. A fever may develop. Sometimes the eyelid is so swollen that it cannot be easily opened. However, once the eyelids are opened, the vision and eye movements are not impaired, and the eyeball is not bulging.

Diagnosis of Preseptal Cellulitis

Treatment of Preseptal Cellulitis

  • Antibiotics

Treatment of preseptal cellulitis consists of antibiotics taken by mouth (for example, amoxicillin with clavulanate). If people have a severe infection or cannot take pills, hospitalization is recommended and antibiotics are given by vein. People should be monitored closely by an ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who specializes in eye disorders).

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Generic Name Select Brand Names
NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version
Others also read

Test your knowledge

Eye Redness
Eye redness is a condition in which the part of the eye that is normally white appears reddish. This occurs when blood vessels on the surface of the eye widen (dilate), bringing extra blood to the eye. Which of the following is NOT a frequent cause of eye redness? 
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest

Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID