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Orbital Cellulitis: Clinical Course and Management Challenges. The Lagos State University Teaching Hospital Experience

BG Balogan
MM Balogun
BJ Adekoya


Background: Orbital cellulitis is a devastating acute infection of orbital soft tissues located posterior to the orbital septum. It is both vision and life-threatening. It is an ocular emergency which most often present in childhood.
Objective: This article reviewed cases presenting during the study period with the view of examining the pattern of presentation, clinical course and management challenges.
Methods: A retrospective study was conducted on patients presenting with orbital cellulitis between January 2008 and June 2011. Socio-demographic data, entry and discharge visual acuity, presenting complaints, predisposing factors, duration of complaints, admission period and complications were extracted from clinical records and analyzed.
Results: Seventeen (17) patients presented with orbital cellulitis constituting 6.2% of ocular emergency admissions during the study period. Twelve (70.6%) were males. Thirteen (76.5%) were children. The major predisposing factors were upper respiratory tract infections, and facial and globe injuries in five (22.7%) cases respectively. Only five (29.4%), presented within three days of disease onset. Average duration of admission was 10.6 days. Complications during the course of disease were category 4 and 5 blindness in five (23.5%), orbital abscess four (23.5%), cavernous sinus thrombosis two (11.8%), contralateral preseptal cellulitis two (11.8%) and exposure keratopathy in one (5.9%).
Conclusion: Orbital cellulitis has remained a disease with high ocular morbidity. The major management challenges were poor financial status of patients precluding necessary diagnostic laboratory and imaging studies. Early recognition, diagnosis and treatment are crucial to the preservation of vision and reduced occurrence of complications. The importance of record keeping is also highlighted.

Keywords: Orbital cellulitis, facial and globe injury, odontogenic infection, blindness.