Tag Archives: black eye

When Should You Worry About a Black Eye?

A black eye, medically known as periorbital hematoma, usually develops when there is blunt-force trauma to the upper face, resulting in bruises that form around the eye(s). A black eye will likely change colors as it heals, perhaps starting red and changing to black, blue, green or yellow with time. Most black eyes resolve themselves within a week or so and don’t cause any significant medical trouble, but sometimes they cause dangerous complications if not immediately treated.

Potential Dangers of a Black Eye

Potential complications that can arise from a black eye (and would require immediate medical attention) include:

  • Detached retina
  • Retinal damage
  • Traumatic uveitis
  • Damage to the optic nerve
  • Hyphema (bleeding in the eye)
  • Skull fracture
  • A concussion
  • Internal bleeding

10 Signs There May Be Trouble

Some of the key signs that you need to seek immediate medical treatment for one of the aforementioned complications include:

  1. Signs of a concussion
  2. Redness, swelling or discoloration to the eye itself
  3. Visible blood in your eyeball
  4. Blurred or double vision or trouble seeing
  5. Vision changes such as bright flashes or ‘floaters’
  6. Excessive pain
  7. Excessive bruising around both eyes
  8. Bleeding from the nose or ears
  9. Pain when looking back and forth
  10. Signs of infection

Dos and Don’ts of Black Eye First Aid


  • Start with a cold compress for 10-15 minutes
  • Apply heat to the area after a couple days (this will help blood flow return to normal)
  • Take acetaminophen for the pain
  • Get it checked out by a professional


  • Apply raw meat to the area – unless you’re hoping for an infection to develop!
  • Take NSAIDS (like Advil) as they may increase bleeding
  • Press on or poke at the injured area

The best thing to do is to get a doctor to take a look at any black eye, even if you don’t think it is serious so he or she can decide the status of the injury for themselves, as well as the appropriate treatment. Thanks for visiting DocChat!