What Causes Black Eye & How Long Does It Last|Symptoms & Treatment of Black Eye

What Is A Black Eye?

A black eye is caused due to discoloration of skin and bruising of the tissue under the skin around the eye. It mostly occurs due to trauma to the eye or the surrounding tissues.

Black Eye is technically caused due to broken blood vessels under the skin and is accompanied by swelling. Clinically it is termed as a periorbital hematoma.

What Causes A Black Eye?

What Causes A Black Eye?

  • A black eye can occur when the face is hit by something such as a ball, fist, a door, or any other item.
  • It can occur after dental or cosmetic surgery and the black eye or the bruising can last up to several days.
  • Sometimes both the eyes are bruised, known as raccoon eyes. It may indicate a skull fracture or any other head injury and it might require urgent medical attention.
  • A serious condition might accompany the black eye in which there is bleeding in the space between the backside of the cornea and front of the iris which is known as hyphema. It is a medical emergency as it can lead to an increase in eye pressure and vision loss.
  • Another complication which might accompany a black eye is subconjunctival hemorrhage, which is the bright red appearance of the sclera of the eye.

What are Symptoms Of A Black Eye & How Long Do They Last?

When there is an injury around the eye the symptoms are as follows:

  • First, there would be some swelling around the eye
  • As the swelling spreads, the skin color will change
  • The discoloration will be red, which will change to blue, violet and then black
  • There might be a constant pain or pain on touch
  • There might be a problem with the vision
  • The red patch in the eye or the subconjunctival hemorrhage heals within 2- 3 days of its occurrence. Within a few days, the swelling might reduce and the discoloration will become lighter. The dark color would fade within a few days.
  • Healing depends on the blood collected in the tissues. Normally a black eye disappears within 1-2 weeks.

Treatment of Black Eye

  • A black eye which occurs due to minor injuries can be treated with ice, rest and pain medications.
  • If there is pain accompanying bruising, apply a cold compress for 20 minutes and take it off for 20 minutes. As swelling decrease apply a warm compress to promote reabsorption of blood.
  • Pain is managed by taking painkillers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
  • There are many symptoms which accompany a black eye and would need immediate medical attention.

The black eye could be due to facial fracture and medical attention is needed for broken bones of skull and face. Following symptoms are present if a black eye involves a fracture,

There are certain home remedies which can help in black eye healing if no emergency is involved.

  • Arnica proves to be a good herbal remedy in reducing swelling
  • Vaseline mixed with cayenne pepper can make a natural healing ointment. Be careful with the ointment, as it should not come in contact with the eyeball as it can burn it.
  • Vitamin C and vitamin K helps in healing and reducing swelling.
  • Most of the times the black eye can heal at home and takes around 1 – 2 weeks to the eye to come back to the normal color.
  • Avoid applying too much pressure or putting too much heat on the affected area as it can delay healing. Avoid sports or any other activity to avoid further injury.
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 27, 2020

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