Patients who have had orbital cellulitis may later develop nonvisual complications


Nonvisual complications of orbital cellulitis may occur in the months following hospitalization, even when the cellulitis has resolved.

Study design

A retrospective review of chart data from 45 children and 45 adults was performed to determine which nonvisual complications ensue after discharge for hospitalizations related to post-septal orbital cellulitis.


Thirty days after hospital discharge, 16% of children and 40% of adults were found to have nonvisual complications of orbital cellulitis. By 6 months post-discharge, 71% of nonvisual complications of orbital cellulitis had resolved spontaneously in children, but only 11% had resolved spontaneously in adults. Intracranial involvement of the infection and an infected orbital implant were correlated with nonvisual complications of orbital cellulitis in children and adults, respectively. Ptosis was the most common complication in children and scarring was most common among adults.


The study was retrospective in nature, thus implying certain inherent limitations. Additionally, the scoring systems for these complications were not specified.

Clinical significance

Results from this study may be used to help counsel patients and their families regarding the nature of their courses after an initial infection. Additionally, the identification of specific risk factors may help to gauge the long-term sequelae of orbital cellulitis. Finally, enhanced awareness of the potential nonvisual complications of orbital cellulitis a patient might face may improve surveillance for their development and ultimately define optimal treatment strategies after the development of orbital cellulitis.

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