Close look on a black eye

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A black eye is brought about by bruising of the skin and cheek fat bordering the eye bones. Generally, it is a minor injury that eventually fades over time. Treatment is not needed by there are measures that promote faster resolution of the pain and swelling.

In some cases, a black eye is an indication of a serious injury, especially if both eyes are affected after a serious blow to the head. The buildup of blood around both eyes after a head injury might be an indication of a basal skull fracture.

Management of a black eye

For a simple case of black eye without any possible underlying health condition, it can be managed with the following measures:

black eye
During the initial 24-48 hours, apply an ice pack on the black eye at 20 minutes at a time.
  • During the initial 24-48 hours, apply an ice pack on the black eye at 20 minutes at a time. Do not place any pressure on the eye during application.
  • After the initial 48 hours, shift to heat to improve the healing. A warm compress or heating pad can be applied at 20-minutes sessions at a time. The heat should not be too hot, only sufficient to provide warmth as well as promote the flow of blood.
  • Continue to monitor for signs of swelling or infection. In case the vision of the individual is obstructed by the swelling or there is evident drainage or bleeding from the eye, a doctor must be seen.


Do not apply raw meat on a black eye. If this is done, it only increases the risk for an infection.

Avoid placing pressure on the affected eyeball. Remember that the eyes are delicate, and pressure can lead to significant lasting damage. The vitreous humor which is the fluid within the eyeball helps in maintaining the shape of the eye. If pressure is placed on the damaged eyeball, it can lead to loss of vitreous humor and result to permanent vision loss.

Even though the application of ice helps lessen the swelling, it cannot deal with the discoloration. Take note that it eventually fades over time.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on black eye is for learning purposes only. Learn to properly manage the injury by taking a standard first aid course with Red Deer First Aid.

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