PURPOSE: To describe a small series of patients with odontogenic orbital cellulitis and review the visual outcomes of such patients reported in the scientific literature. METHODS: Review of medical records and the scientific literature. Measured parameters included gender, age, days to presentation and surgery, the need for surgical intervention(s), sinus and orbital involvement on CT imaging, and pathogens involved. RESULTS: Current cases and review of the scientific literature resulted in 24 patients with odontogenic orbital cellulitis and adequate examinations for statistical analysis. Twelve of 24 patients had preserved vision (final vision better than 20/70), whereas 11 of 24 patients had vision loss (final vision of light perception or no light perception). Analysis of data showed no statistical correlation between visual loss and age (p = 0.81), days to clinical presentation (p = 0.45), days to surgical exploration (p = 0.96), sinus radiographic involvement (p = 0.50), orbital radiographic findings (p = 0.19), or type of bacterial infection (Gram-positive aerobic vs. anaerobic organisms), (p = 0.31 and p = 0.50 respectively). Male gender, the need for surgical drainage, and multiple surgical procedures performed correlated statistically with loss of vision (p = 0.05, p = 0.03, and p = 0.02, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Multiple case reports have demonstrated that orbital cellulitis from an odontogenic source can result in devastating visual loss. Male gender, the need for surgical drainage, and multiple surgical procedures correlated statistically with severity of visual loss.
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