A black eye is defined as swelling and bruising around the eye, usually from a direct strike to the area from a fall or punch. In most cases, the injury settles within 2-3 weeks.
How to manage a black eye
If an individual has a black eye, the following measures can be done:
- Gently apply an ice pack on the area around the eye for 10-20 minutes at a time and repeat during the initial 1-2 days.
- Pain medications can be given such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to lessen the pain.
- After the initial 2 days, gently place a warm compress or cloth on the site around the eye regularly throughout the day.
When to consult a doctor
A doctor must be seen if an individual has a black eye with the following:
- There is intense pain and swelling
- Headache that does not settle or accompanied by blurred vision
- High body temperature or the individual feels warm and shivery
- Area around the eye is warm or there is drainage of pus
- Injury does not go away within 3 weeks
When is emergency care needed?
- If there is blood visible in the affected eye
- An irregularly-shaped pupil
- Individual sustained a blow or strike to the head with bruising around both eyes
- Inability to move the eye
- Visual issues such as loss of vision, double vision, light sensitivity and seeing flashing lights, shadows or halos
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on a black eye is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly manage the injury, register for a first aid and CPR course with Mississauga First Aid.