A black eye, also known as a periorbital hematoma, is a common skin injury resulting in discoloration of the skin around the eye. It occurs due to an injury to the head or face that causes blood and other fluids to collect in the space around the eye, resulting in swelling and discoloration (typically black). However, the eye is not usually damaged.
What causes a black eye?
The primary cause of black eye is a blow to the eyes. Other causes of a black eye include:
- A blow to the nose can affect both eyes because the swelling from the nasal injury causes fluid to collect in the loose tissue of the eyelids
- Surgical procedures on the face
- Certain types of head injury (called a basilar skull fracture) cause black eyes in both eyes (also referred to as “raccoon’s eyes”)
- Allergic reactions
- Insect bites
- Dental infections
What are the symptoms and signs of a black eye? Can it be serious?
The black and blue eye discoloration is caused by broken blood vessels under the skin. Initially, a swollen black eye and discoloration might be light, and the affected area may not form an immediate black eye. The affected area may become red and then turn to a darker shade of deep violet, yellow, green, or black, while the swelling increases with the discoloration. Major black eye symptoms include:
- Persistent and severe headache
- Eye pain
- Discoloration, puffiness, or swelling around the eye (swelling may cause trouble in opening eyes)
- Loss of consciousness
- Double vision
- Loss of sight
- Inability to move the eye
- Blood or clear fluid leaking from the nose or the ears
- Blood is visible on the surface of the eyeball
Also read: Do I Have Pink Eye or Is It an Allergic Reaction?
Black eye treatment
The black eye has no serious symptoms and can be treated at home. Some ways to treat a black eye:
- Apply ice or ice pack for 15-20 minutes every hour
- Take OTC pain medications, e.g., acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Apply arnica gel
- Eat food rich in Vitamin C
What to expect while your black eye heals?
Swelling increases after two days of injury, so don’t be scared if you wake up with swollen eyes. During recovery, the affected area crosses different stages from purple to green and yellow before fading away, following which the skin color returns to normal.
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When to see a doctor for your black eye
Contact a doctor if you notice no improvement in your eyes despite trying the above remedies. Signs of an infection or any other problem include:
- Increased swelling after the first two days
- Increased pain or tenderness
- Affected skin feels hot when touched
- Increased redness
- Changes in vision
Most black eye injuries aren’t serious. However, sometimes they may indicate a serious skull injury or internal injury. If the swollen black eye does not improve, seek immediate medical help.
If you are suffering from a black eye, consult our MI Express Urgent Care medical team today! Our team of expert healthcare providers can offer treatment for your black eye and prevent it from worsening.