What is Eye (Eyelid) Cellulitis: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatments, Pictures

Cellulitis of the eye or eyelid is subdivided into two classifications, firstly, eyelid cellulitis alternatively described as periorbital or preseptal cellulitis and secondly, orbital or ocular cellulitis. The two are interconnected; the former can develop into the latter. The first mentioned is generally less serious and involves the eyelid, tissue in front of the eye and the skin around, near the eye and under the eye. The second involves the structures behind the orbital septum, a sheet of membrane which separates the front and back of the eye, a protective shield against infection and foreign bodies. Cellulitis posterior to this layer, behind and within the eye is potentially very grim with possibly life transforming aftermaths in terms of general health and specifically, sight compromise or even loss. Cellulitis in the eye is more recurrent in children but does still crop up in the adult population.

Playground plagues

It is no great mystery that children like to share disease like pass the parcel! It is how they develop their immature immune system, no consolation to the hapless parents who have to play doctor and nurses throughout those early school years.

Clustering together in huddles with little concept of good hygiene means that contagious infections spread like wildfire. Several common and garden conditions like conjunctivitis and pink eye are sometimes inadvertently misdiagnosed and could potentially be eyelid cellulitis. Your local healthcare practice can diagnose definitively.

So what is cellulitis of the eye?

A bacterial infection caused by the standard germy offenders affecting the deeper layers of skin so not just the epidermis. Cellulitis as a disorder favours the limbs particularly the legs but it can pop up anywhere on the body theoretically.

Working out what is cellulitis of the eye and what is a different problem should be only undertaken by a medical practitioner or specialist ophthalmologist.

One for the ladies

Because cellulitis is a bacterial infection, you should ditch the eye shadow and mascara to avoid spreading germs. Applicator wands are notorious for harbouring bugs but also eye colour palates and eyeliner pencils. It is heartbreaking to chuck away barely used top label products but just remember that ugly, swollen eye if you need an incentive.

What are the symptoms of cellulitis of the eye?

Major swelling is the biggie coming out of nowhere seemingly and routinely terrifying people when they glance in the mirror. The inflammation frequently affects both top and bottom eyelids to such a degree that the eye is swollen shut. The area will be warm to touch and sore, unsurprisingly. Diagnosis is key. Eye cellulitis symptoms can be mismatched to other similar conditions but the prescribed treatment may differ.

That special occasion and you have eyelid cellulitis, help!

Your first instinct is foundation and concealer by the bucket load but the doctor has said no because it carries the risk of re-infection. Take a leaf out of the book of Amanda Seyfried who landed in Stockholm for the red carpet premier of the cult movie, ‘Mamma Mia’ in the all-important Abba heartland and with a rocking eye infection in tow. No avoiding the scrutiny of the film cameras and paparazzi for her. Makeup expert, Mary Greenwell, decided to embrace the challenge, come clean about the infection – pun deliberately intended – and use cosmetics to create a glamorous rock star vibe which would complement rather than disguise. Hunt out the famous selfie on the internet captioned, “ Eye infection vs. @marygreenwell’s makeup design”. Whatever infection the starlet was sporting, the idea was to work sensibly with it using pure, natural products which were not going to make a delicate situation a whole lot worse, a great plug too for the skill of the artist and the contents of her makeup bag.

We forgive the actress but, unless you are going to a glittering black tie event with royalty of any sort present, the advice very much is to avoid makeup which can irritate an already unhappy eye and act as a repository for an overload of bacteria. And most ordinary people sadly don’t have the talents of a Mary Greenwell by their side although there are plenty of online tutorials.

Contact lenses

People who wear contacts are more at risk of eye infections. Approximately one-third of the population have Staphylococcus aureus, one of the primary bacteria that cause cellulitis in the eye or eyelids, in their noses. This is easy to spread to your eyes when you touch your face as you do hundreds of times throughout any one day. If you are going to wear contacts then you need to be pretty rigorous in your care and disinfection routines.

If you wear contacts then you may need to switch to glasses whilst your eye is being treated, there ain’t no way a lens is going to slide through that swelling and, they are great havens for adhering infection to the eye and causing reinfection.

Using daily disposables? Then just bin the solution and replace it. If you wear permanents then you should contemplate buying new versions.

What is the treatment for cellulitis of the eye?

The standard treatment for this condition is oral antibiotics via prescription and on occasion, antibiotic eye drops. Supportive hygienic daily eye care is essential until the infection is resolved.

Pictures of eye cellulitis

Designed to educate and inform not to panic or frighten, feast your beady eyes on these pictures of eye cellulitis.



Article References:

  1. https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/aftercareinformation/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=tw12470
  2. ttps://www.health.com/beauty/products-replace-illness-dermatologists
  3. https://www.self.com/story/amanda-seyfried-makeup-eye-infection
  4. https://www.vogue.co.uk/article/makeup-artist-mary-greenwell-interview
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/blepharitis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20370148
  6. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/contact-lenses-eye-infections#1