After a few days of suffering from a cold, sneezing a lot and generally feeling run down, 12 year old Zara suffered a serious nosebleed, so much so that her mum Juliana thought that she had broken a blood vessel after a sneezing fit. Zara’s eye also began to swell up, and she was admitted to Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick to receive specialised paediatric care.

After Zara had a CT scan, she was diagnosed with peri-orbital cellulitis, a rare and potentially dangerous infection of the eye tissue, as a result of a nasty sinus infection. She needed immediate surgery to drain the build up of fluid below and behind her eye, across her nasal passage and through her cheek, or risk losing her eyesight.

“At that point, I was really scared. The doctors explained that they would have to operate on Zara straightaway or there was a chance she could lose her vision as a result. It was shocking to hear that. I felt like I was in a movie - the experience was absolutely surreal but I am so glad the medical team reacted so promptly,” said Juliana.

Zara’s three-hour-long operation to drain fluid from the area closest to her brain was successful. As a precaution, Zara spent two weeks after the surgery on the Hospital ward taking antibiotics every hour to fight the infection.

Luckily, Zara responded well to treatment and was sent home to be with her mum and two sisters again. She has to continue taking antibiotics for a further four weeks to ensure the infection does not return.  

“We were so impressed with the fantastic facilities at Sydney Children’s Hospital. You just can’t put a price on good health, and I am so grateful to the Infectious Diseases, Ophthalmology and Ear Nose and Throat teams for treating my daughter and saving her vision,” said Juliana.