Black eye

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

Black eye
Pain medications can be given such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to lessen the pain.

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.

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