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First Aid for Black Eye

Last updated March 5, 2018

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

Irina Slutsky

A Black Eye is a contusion around the eye accompanying with swelling and discoloration.

What is Black Eye?

  • A Black Eye is a contusion around the eye accompanying with swelling and discoloration
  • It is usually caused by a direct application of force (blunt trauma) to the eye or face. The condition may be mild or severe depending on the intensity of the causative factor

What are the Causes of Black Eye?

The causes of Black Eye include:

  • Bleeding underneath the skin around the eye, due to a blunt injury (trauma) to the face or skull base, including the eye socket
  • Head injury

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Black Eye?

The signs and symptoms of Black Eye include:

  • Swelling around the eye
  • Purple, blue, and black discoloration
  • Bruising
  • Pain
  • Vision disturbances, due to swollen/puffy eyelids

How is First Aid administered for Black Eye?

First Aid tips for Black Eye include:

  • Apply a cold pack, frozen pack of vegetables, or ice wrapped in cloth, to the site of injury around the eye immediately
  • Continue this intermittently for 15-20 minutes every 1 or 2 hours while awake, for about 24-48 hours, depending on the severity of the swelling
  • The swelling and discoloration should gradually resolve in the next few days to weeks
  • Make sure there is no bleeding inside the eye
  • Seek immediate medical help if any bleeding is noticed inside the eye
  • Also seek immediate medical help, if there is a bleeding or clear drainage from nose or ears, loss of consciousness, break in the skin around the eye (laceration), vision disturbances, and if the individual is unable to move the eyeball

Who should administer First Aid for Black Eye?

First Aid can be administered by individual himself/herself, or anyone in close proximity of the injured person.

What is the Prognosis of Black Eye?

  • Prognosis is usually good
  • Pain, swelling, and discoloration may persist for a few days to weeks after the injury
  • However, Black Eye injuries normally heal without any complications

How can Black Eye be Prevented?

A few helpful tips to prevent Black Eye:

  • Use suitable protective gear/equipment, during sports and other leisure activities
  • Wear seatbelts while driving; use helmets while riding motorcycle or bicycle
  • Fixing damaged floors and rugs at home, may prevent accidental falls

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Immediately apply ice, as instructed above
  • Seek immediate medical attention, if necessary

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: May 28, 2013
Last updated: March 5, 2018