Black eye is caused by the bruising of the tissue beneath the skin around the eye. Oftentimes it is caused by injury, however, it can also connote an extensive injury to the skull, such as fractures. It is usually due to an injury to the face instead of injury to the eye itself. This will then result to swelling and a dark discoloration around the eye, thus earning its name “black eye.” Majority of black eye cases are not serious, but if there is damage caused to the eyeball, specifically bleeding in the front part of the eye (hyphema), it can denote damage to the cornea. Medically, it is called periorbital hematoma or shiner.
Causes of Black Eye
The hemorrhaging surrounding the eye is due to the burst of capillaries in the area. Because of the presence of fatty tissue, blood accumulation is permitted around the eye socket. Most cases of black eye are caused by blunt trauma to the face.
- Vehicular accidents
- Sports-related injuries
- Fracture in the skull
- Sinusitis caused by allergies
Signs and Symptoms of Black Eye
Apart from the most common sign which is black and blue discoloration around the eye, several other symptoms and conditions are observed in black eyes
- Swelling of the eye
- Head injuries
- Blurry vision from swollen eyes
- If due to fracture, may cause raccoon eyes or black eye in both eyes
- If due to allergy, darkening under the eyes (due to inflammation and engorging of blood vessels)
- In cases of severe black eye,
- Double vision
- Incapable of moving one or both eyes
- Large swelling around the affected eye
- Bleeding from eye surface or evident cut on the eye
- Blood or clear fluid coming from nose or ears
- Persistent headache or migraine
- Loss of sight or fuzzy vision
Treatment for Black Eye
As is with any bruise, a black eye will usually disappear within a week to two weeks. No medical treatment is required to treat black eye unless there is actual eye trauma or if any of the symptoms for severe cases progresses and/ or persists. Other than that, first aid can be applied by:
- To reduce swelling, apply a bag of frozen vegetables or cold pack to the area around the eye for 20 minutes. Use only gentle pressure only and do not press on the eye. Never apply ice directly.
- Continue to apply cold for the first 48 hours.
- Painkillers may be taken to relieve pain.
- Stay away from any strenuous physical activity.
In most medical situations, first aid can be applied. First aid training teaches how to treat contusions of different bodily locations. It is necessary to apply first aid in every situation to alleviate symptoms and reduce risk for worsening injury, even in seemingly minor injuries such as black eyes.