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Black Eye: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Black eye occurs when the skin tissue around the eye is bruised. It's called black eye because of the bluish-dark colour of the skin due to the bursting of tiny blood vessels under the skin. A black eye is also called a 'shiner' and the medical name is 'periorbital hematoma'.

What Causes Black Eye?

Black eye happens as a result of blunt trauma caused either by a ball, a fist, a door, or another item. This leads to bleeding of the blood vessels below the thin eyelid skin. A black eye can also occur due to some dental or cosmetic surgery or fracture deep inside the skull [1] .

black eye

Symptoms Of Black Eye

Swelling and changing of the skin colour below the eyes is a noticeable sign of black eyes. First, when the skin is bruised it will become red and then, change to dark blue, deep violet, and black colour. Vision problems may occur due to this. Black eye disappears on its own within 1 to 2 weeks and doesn't require any medical attention.

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Conditions Associated With Black Eye

  • Dengue fever
  • Broken nose
  • Concussion
  • Head injury
  • Skull fracture
  • A subdural hematoma
  • Shaken baby syndrome
  • Eye emergencies
  • Factor II deficiency
  • Factor V deficiency
  • Factor VII deficiency
  • Factor X deficiency
  • Haemophilia A
  • Haemophilia B
  • Von Willebrand disease
black eye symptoms

When To See A Doctor

If the black eye doesn't heal normally within a few days, it can be a sign of concern. The person will need urgent medical attention if:

  • Bleeding occurs from the ears or nose
  • Blood appears on the surface of the eye
  • Two black eyes occur
  • There are seizures or vomiting
  • There is loss of consciousness
  • There is difficulty in moving the eyes
  • A headache lasts more than 2 days
  • Double vision occurs

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Diagnosis Of Black Eye

The doctor will first conduct a basic examination and ask how the injury occurred and will test your vision. If the doctor suspects a skull fracture, you will have a CT scan and X-ray of your head and face, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

black eye causes

Treatment Of Black Eye

Black eyes can be treated with rest, ice, and pain medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Arnica is a good herbal remedy to reduce swelling and pain.

A cold and warm compress can aid in the treatment of a black eye. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, applying ice for 15 minutes every hour on the first day for up to 5 times will relieve pain and swelling. Once the swelling reduces, you may apply a warm compress to help in the increased reabsorption of blood.

Another way of treating a black eye is to mix 5 tbsp of melted vaseline with cayenne pepper to prepare a natural healing ointment.

Tips to keep in mind while recovering

  • Refrain from any activity that could further damage the area.
  • When sleeping keep the head higher than the rest of the body.

Prevention Of Black Eye

  • Avoid slippery areas to reduce the likelihood of injury.
  • Keep the stairs and floor clear of cables and other items.
  • Wear protective eye gear or goggles to help protect the eyes during. activities such as gardening, sports, cycling or riding a motorcycle.
View Article References
  1. [1] Büttner, M., Schlittler, F. L., Michel, C., Exadaktylos, A. K., & Iizuka, T. (2014). Is a black eye a useful sign of facial fractures in patients with minor head injuries? A retrospective analysis in a level I trauma centre over 10 years.British journal of oral and maxillofacial surgery,52(6), 518-522.

Read more about: black eye causes symptoms treatment
Story first published: Thursday, July 18, 2019, 9:00 [IST]
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