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Eyelid and Eye Socket Infections and Inflammation

The Berkeley Eye Center of Houston oculoplastics clinic focuses on problems that affect the appearance and function of the eyes, eyelids and areas surrounding the eyes. Ophthalmologist Dr. Aida Bounama is an oculoplastics surgeon with extensive experience performing a wide range of cosmetic and reconstructive oculoplastic procedures as well as treating the diseases, infections and other conditions that can affect health of the structures surrounding the eye, such as the eye socket, eyelids and tear ducts.

Infections of the eyelids and orbital structures can develop into a serious problem if left untreated. These types of infections are usually caused by bacteria but may also occur after exposure to a virus or fungus. One or both eyes may become infected.

Symptoms That You Might Have an Eyelid or Orbital Infection

Inflammation of the eye and surrounding tissue can be a major indication of an eye infection. Other symptoms of an eye infection include:

  • Red eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Pain in and around the eye
  • Discharge
  • Fever
  • Swelling and redness of the eyelids and soft tissue around the eye
  • Vision difficulties – decreased or double vision
  • Problems with eye mobility
  • Increased pressure in the eye

You may also experience concurrent sinus problems, such as a runny nose and congestion.

Common Types Of Eye Socket And Eyelid Infections

Orbital Cellulitis

Orbital cellulitis is an infectious condition that affects the tissue within the orbit (eye socket) around the eye. It usually begins as a bacterial sinus infection that spreads to the eye socket. Orbital cellulitis is an emergency condition. Left untreated it can result in blindness and can also spread to other parts of the body such as the brain and spinal cord.


Also known as “pink eye,” conjunctivitis is a contagious infection of the conjunctiva, the membrane that lines the eyelid and covers the white part of the eyeball. Inflammation affects the blood vessels, giving the eye a pink or red appearance.


Styes are small red bumps that form along the edges of the eyelid. They can be caused by a bacterial infection of the eyelash follicle. Styes may result in pain, swelling and tearing of the eye.


Inflammation of the eyelids that can also affect the eyelashes and oil glands of the eyelids. Infection is one cause of blepharitis.

Treatment options

A thorough examination will be needed to exactly diagnose the cause of the inflammation or infection. The good news: eyelids and orbits often respond well to treatments that can include antibiotics, antihistamines and steroids. Over the counter medications may be recommended to relieve the pain. Serious cases of cellulitis may require surgery to drain fluids from the eye socket and sinuses.

Schedule an Exam with Dr. Bounama at Berkeley Eye Center

If you have been experiencing pain or irritation due to inflammation around or behind the eye, it may be due to an eyelid or orbital infection. Dr. Bounama has the knowledge and skills to diagnose the cause of your problem and prescribe the most effective treatment available. Delaying treatment only makes it the condition worse. Call Berkeley Eye Center today to schedule your examination.