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Black Eye- An Overview of Causes and Treatment

Black Eye- An Overview of Causes and Treatment

Most of the time a black eye isn’t anything to worry about. It is simply a bruise to the eyelid that results from some sort of trauma to the eye area. Since the skin in this area is so delicate black eyes are very common. Let’s learn more about black eyes and what causes them. You will also learn treatment options for black eyes and signs that a black eye might be more serious and require treatment.

What Causes a Black Eye?

Generally black eyes result from some sort of trauma or injury to the delicate eye area. The trauma to the area causes blood vessels to break which results in bleeding under the skin and a black and blue discoloration. Allergic reactions can also cause a black eye appearance since allergies can cause blood vessels under the eye to fill with blood or to become inflamed. Skull fractures can also cause a blackening of both eyes, even if eye injury has not occurred. Skull fractures are one of the most serious conditions that can lead to a black eye.

What Are the Symptoms of a Black Eye?

The symptoms of a black eye are pretty straightforward. The soft tissue around the eye may become inflamed or swollen. Bruising is another common symptom. You will often see broken blood vessels in the white of the eye as well which is a known as a subconjuctival hemorrhage. Bruising generally appears with a dark purple or blue discoloration. As the black eye heals the discoloration will generally turn green or yellow. It takes a week for the bruising around the eye to fully heal and disappear.

When Does a Black Eye Require Medical Attention?

Most of the time a black eye isn’t serious and will heal on its own in a few days. However, there are some instances when immediate medical attention is important. Make sure that you see a doctor immediately if the following situations occur.

  • Loss of Consciousness- If the eye injury that caused the black eye led to a loss of consciousness, make sure that you see a doctor immediately.

  • Two Black Eyes- If both eyes appear bruised and swollen you should see a doctor as this could be a sign of a skull fracture. You should also go to the doctor if a black eye appears without eye injury.

  • Eye Pain- A black eye is a result of trauma to the delicate skin around the eye. If you experience eye pain this might mean that the actual eyeball was injured. You should see your eye doctor as soon as possible.

  • Blurry Vision or Vision Changes- Changes in your vision can result from an eye injury. If you notice blurry vision, vision changes or if you see spots after an eye injury make sure that you see an eye doctor immediately.

  • Open Cut Around the Eye- Cuts around the eye can be serious, so seek medical attention.

  • Changes in the Appearance of the Eye- Bleeding in the eye or changes in the pupil or the iris should be examined by an eye doctor as soon as possible.

Black Eye Treatment

Immediate treatment can greatly reduce the swelling and pain associated with a black eye. As soon as possible after the injury you should rest the eye and apply ice. Applying ice will constrict, or shrink, the blood vessels surrounding the eye which will result in less blood and fluid accumulating in the damaged tissue. Ice also cools, numbs and reduces pain on the injury site. Alternating periods of cooling and resting will reduce swelling. Try to ice the affected eye for 20 minutes each waking hour for the first 24 hours after the injury occurs. Don’t place ice directly on the skin. Instead use an ice pack or wrap the ice in fabric to protect the skin from becoming too cold.

Once an eye is injured it is very easy to injure it again more seriously. While your eye heals protect it from additional injury by avoiding participation in athletic events. Avoid any situations where you feel that further injury to the eye is possible. Healing takes time so be patient throughout the healing process.

A black eye is one of the most common eye injuries out there. It is very easy to injure the delicate skin surrounding the eye.



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