While most black eyes heal on their own and are not a major problem, some are more serious. It's important to evaluate your eye's condition to determine if you need to see the eye doctor, and then to act accordingly. Here's how to determine how serious your black eye is, as well as some tips for treating both serious and not-so-serious black eyes.
Evaluating the severity of your eye injury
A black eye is essentially a bruise that occurs around your eye. Blunt trauma to the tissues around the eye can cause bleeding under the skin, and this blood accumulates in the soft tissues around the eye. Since the skin near the eyes is so thin and transparent, black eyes tend to be darker and more noticeable than other bruises. Now, if your only issue really is a black eye, then you really have no reason to worry. A black eye, on its own, should heal without any real problem. The issue is that sometimes, black eyes are accompanied by other more serious injuries. If any of the following are true, you have more than a simple black eye and you should seek immediate medical attention:
- There is blood inside your actual eye
- You feel dizzy
- Your vision is blurry
- You cannot move your eye, or opening and closing it is tough
- You feel severe pain in or around your eye
Treating a not-so-serious black eye
If you do not have any of the issues above, there is no need to seek medical attention for a black eye. You can keep yourself comfortable and encourage the eye to heal more quickly by doing the following:
- Holding a cold compress against your eye (Ice may feel too cold. Use a wash cloth dipped in cold water.)
- Take an NSAID, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. This will help reduce the swelling.
- Sleep on your back rather than your front to avoid putting pressure on your injured eye.
Your black eye should start looking less black within a few days. Don't be alarmed if it turns red or yellow before going away completely – this is normal. If at any time your eye starts feeling excessively painful or you begin developing other worrying symptoms like blurry vision or dizziness, contact your eye doctor, such as Blue Ridge Ophthalmology, promptly. He or she will make sure you don't have a more serious injury to your actual eye rather than just the tissues around it.