A black eye happens when an injury causes blood to collect in the tissues underneath the skin around (not inside) the eye. The injury would typically be caused by a blunt force, such as a punch to the eye, or being hit by a ball or any other hard object.
To treat a minor black eye, the first thing to do is to put a cold compress over the eye in order to reduce the swelling. Keep the cold compress on for about 15-20 minutes. Repeat this every hour for 24 to 48 hours. After 48 hours, you can apply a warm compress to the eye. Despite popular myths to the contrary, do put cold meat on a black eye. This could increase the risk of infection.
More serious black eyes If experiencing any of the following conditions, you need medical attention:
- Blood in the eye
- Bleeding from the nose or ears
- Unable to move or open the eye
- Vomiting, dizziness or passing out.
- Vision loss, blurry or double vision
- Continued headache
- Any sign of infection, pus or redness coming from the eye or fever
Anyone who experiences these symptoms should not wait to see an optometrist or visit the emergency room.