A black eye is frequently caused by an injury to the face or the head that result to the accumulation of blood and other bodily fluids in the space around the eye. The dark discoloration and swelling of a black eye is sometimes called a “shiner”.
Most cases of black eyes are considered as minor injuries and heal in a few days. The tissues found around the eye may become discolored and swollen without any damage which is comparable to a bruise around the eye or ecchymosis.
Injuries to the nose, eyebrows and forehead can result to a black eye because gravity pulls the inflammatory fluids and blood into the soft tissues found around and under the eyes.
The swelling around the eyes lessens when the black eye begins to heal and the bruising will gradually fade away. The bruising usually begins with a dark purple color and as it fades, it changes to light purple then greenish yellow before totally fading away.
Causes of black eye
- A direct blow to the eye, nose or forehead.
- A direct blow to the nose causes the eyes to swell due to inflammation from the injured nasal cavity.
- Surgical procedures to the face such as facelift and surgery on the jaw or nose.
- Basilar skull fracture
- Allergic reactions
- Dental infections
- Edema or swelling and discoloration of the skin due to bruising
- Blurred vision and difficulty opening the eye
- Double vision
- Vision loss
- Loss of consciousness
- Blood or clear fluids drains out of the nose and ears
- Presence of blood in the surface of the eye
- Take plenty of rest especially the affected area for fast healing of the area.
- Apply an ice pack on the affected eye for at least 20 minutes every hour while awake during the initial 24 hours. Avoid applying the pack directly on the skin to prevent burn or frostbite. Wrap the ice pack in a towel or piece of cloth before applying on the area. Ice works by reducing the swelling and constricts the blood vessels to prevent internal bleeding, bruising and promote fast healing of the condition.
- After 2 days, apply a warm compress on the affected eye to increase the flow of blood to the tissues around the eyes and promote rapid healing of the area. Soak a small towel in warm water, squeeze out the excess water and then place on the affected eye until it becomes cool. Repeat this process several times every day.
- Massage the area gently to increase the flow of blood and eliminate the accumulated blood under the skin.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to lessen the pain and inflammation.
Disclaimer / More Information
The material posted on this page on black eye is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage soft tissue injuries including black eye by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.