July 27, 2021

COVID-19 as possible cause of orbital cellulitis

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

In this case study, craniofacial surgeons from Brazil describe their experience with a 28-year-old COVID-19-positive man who developed orbital cellulitis, requiring surgical intervention.

A few weeks before, the man had a mild illness with fatigue and loss of smell and taste. He didn’t seek medical care until he developed a headache and swelling around the eye. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 and sinusitis.


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Despite antibiotics, the swelling worsened until his eye was swollen shut. A CT scan showed a collection of fluid that was putting pressure on the globe.

The surgeons performed urgent surgery, using a small incision to drain the fluid and pus, and started IV antibiotics. The swelling decreased immediately, and a few weeks later, the eye was functioning normally.

The findings suggest that COVID-19 may contribute to sinus infection with the potential to spread to the eye, even in a healthy young patient with mild symptoms, the researchers say. They emphasize the need for early surgery in patients with vision-threatening orbital cellulitis.

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