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Eye Injury (Black Eye)

What is ecchymosis or bruising of the eye?

Ecchymosis, or more commonly known as a “black eye," usually occurs from some type of trauma to the eye, causing the tissue around the eye to become bruised. Your doctor will examine the eye closely to make sure there's no damage to the actual eye itself.

What is the treatment for a black eye?

Specific treatment for a black eye will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history

  • Extent of the injury

  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the injury

  • Your opinion or preference

Most black eyes heal completely and don't cause any damage to the eye. Treatment may include:

  • Cold compresses to the eye for the first 24 hours

  • Warm compresses to the eye after the first 24 hours

  • Continued compresses until the swelling stops

  • Keep the head elevated to help decrease the amount of swelling

It's important to know that the swelling and bruise may appear to spread and go down the cheek or to the other eye. This is normal. Consult your doctor if the bruising and swelling doesn't resolve on its own.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bogus, William J., OD, FAAO
Online Medical Reviewer: Grantham, Paula, RN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/25/2013
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