What is black eye?

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Black eye: Overview

A black eye is bruising and swelling around the eye or the eyelids. The swelling from your black eye may get worse over the next couple of days. After that, the swelling should steadily improve until it is gone.

The bruise around your eye will change colors as it heals. The skin may turn from black and blue to green, yellow, and brown before it returns to its normal color. It may take 1 to 3 weeks to return to normal.

How can you care for your black eye?

  • Put ice or a cold pack on the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice pack and your skin.
  • Protect your eye from further injury. Until your eye is healed, avoid activities where it could get hit.
  • Ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

Black eye: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have any new changes in vision, such as double vision or blurring.
  • You have new or increased pain in or around your eye.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.