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Traumatic Black Eye

A black eye is a bruise around the eye. After a traumatic blow, blood and other fluids collect in the space around the eye, causing discoloration and swelling.

Most black eyes should get better within 2 to 3 weeks with self care.

However, some black eyes may indicate a more serious injury, such as a fracture to the thin bones around the eye, skull fracture, or even internal injury to the eye.

Bad black eyes

Call a doctor immediately if the black eye is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • Bruising around both eyes

  • Bleeding in the eye

  • Bleeding or clear fluid dripping from the nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • A headache that does not go away

  • Severe pain or swelling

  • Decreased vision, blurry vision, or double vision

  • Presence of blood in the white or colored parts of the eye

  • Flashing lights or spots seen by one eye that travel with your field of view as you move your eye

  • A cut on the eyelid or the inside surface of the eye

  • Numbness in the cheek or upper teeth on the same side as the injured eye

  • A high fever or chills

Home treatment of black eye

To take care of an uncomplicated black eye injury:

  • Apply cold compresses or a cloth filled with ice to the eye as soon as possible for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, once every hour, for the first 24 hours.

  • After 24 hours, apply warm compresses to the eye. Continue compresses until the swelling stops.

  • Keep the head elevated to decrease the amount of swelling.


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