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(Black Eye; Blunt Eye Injury; Ecchymosis)
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- Participation in high-impact sports such as basketball, football, hockey, and boxing
- Occupations that expose the eye to potential injury, such as manufacturing, construction, and athletics
- Fighting or other trauma
- Seek emergency medical attention right away.
- Immediately apply an ice pack for 15-20 minutes at a time to reduce swelling and minimize pain. Do not press on the eye itself. Repeat every 1 to 2 hours for the first 48 hours.
- If there is still tenderness after 48 hours, apply a warm compress every 1-2 hours.
- Take acetaminophen for pain. Do not take aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen because they can cause or increase bleeding.
- If the skin around your eye is cut, you may need stitches.
- If there was any damage to the eye itself, you may need antibiotic eye drops to prevent infection.
- Your doctor may prescribe eye drops to minimize inflammation.
- If there is suspicion of damage to the bones, x-rays or other imaging may be performed
- Wear protective eye covering such as safety goggles whenever the eye is exposed to potential injury at work or play. The best goggles fit snug against the skin so that no foreign objects can get underneath the goggle and into the eye.
- Avoid situations that may involve fighting.
Special Note on Domestic Violence
Eye Smart—American Academy of Opthalmology http://www.eyesmart.org
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) http://www.ndvh.org
Canadian Ophthalmological Society http://www.eyesite.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
American Academy of Ophthalmology. Preventing Eye Injuries: A Closer Look. 2004.
Beers MH, Berkow R, et al, eds. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck Research Laboratories; 1999.
Contusion. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 31, 2014. Accessed August 27, 2014.
Eye injuries. Nemours Kids Health website. Available at http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid%5Fsafe/emergencies/eye%5Finjury.html. Updated January 2011. Accessed August 27, 2014.
Johns Hopkins University. The Johns Hopkins Family Health Book. New York: Harper Collins Publishing; 1999.
What is a black eye? American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Smart website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/black-eye.cfm. Accessed August 27, 2014.
- Reviewer: Fabienne Daguilh, MD
- Review Date: 06/2014
- Update Date: 00/51/2013