Black eye causes, symptoms, and treatment

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Eye Health | Friday, September 02, 2016 - 02:30 PM

periorbital hematomaA black eye is most commonly a result of bruising due to an injury. It occurs when fluid collects in the tissues around the eyes and blood vessels under the skin’s surface become broken. A black eye is usually accompanied by swelling of the affected area.

Black eye, or periorbital hematoma, is a collection of blood located in the tissues around the eye. Any trauma to the eye or surrounding area can cause damage to the blood vessels, causing them to leak and resulting in the formation of a bruise. The skin around the eye is generally thinner than on other parts of the body, so usually it doesn’t take much to get bruised there. Also, the skin tissue around the eye is looser, which means fluid leaking from blood vessels accumulates easier there.

A black eye is also referred to as “shiner”. The term is believed to be coined back in 1904, because the appearance of a black eye seemed to have a shine to it. Alternative explanation suggests it’s called shiner because it appears as if a person applied black shoe shine around the eye.

Black eye causes

A black eye is commonly caused by trauma to the eye. If something strikes the eye, it can result in damaged blood vessels. Accidents that can lead to a black eye include contact sports, falling, bumping into something, or being directly hit in the eye. Even medical procedures can result in black eyes, including cosmetic eye surgery, sinus surgery, or even dental work.

Serious causes of black eyes include cellulitis (a serious infection around the eye) and skull fracture.

Black eye signs and symptoms

Drivers with cataracts, blurred vision pose risk to pedestrians at night despite passing the standard vision test: StudyThe most obvious sign of a black eye is a visible bruise and discoloration. A black eye can also be accompanied by swelling, pain, and blurred vision. More severe symptoms include double vision, vision loss, blood in the eyeball or on eye surface, inability to move the eye, severe or ongoing headache, fainting or loss of consciousness, and blood or fluid coming from the nose or eyes.

Black eye complications

Majority of the times, a black eye is a minor condition that will heal on its own. If the black eye was caused by a severe trauma, complications may arise. Complications resulting from a black eye include traumatic uveitis and iritis, hyphema (accumulation of blood in the front of the eye, can damage the interior tissues of the eye), glaucoma, retinal detachment, and orbital floor fracture in which the eyeball is pushed deep into the socket, fracturing the bones that make up the eye socket.

Treatment options for periorbital hematoma

Unless accompanied by serious symptoms listen above, the best you can do for your black eye is allow it to heal on its own. Feel free to apply something cold to the eye to help reduce swelling and stop bleeding below the skin surface.

You will also want to ensure you protect yourself from further injury to the eye to avoid the risk of complications.

You can take pain relievers if pain is present.

It’s always a good idea to visit your eye doctor after experiencing trauma to the eye just to ensure there is no deeper damage involved. You doctor will instruct you if further treatment is required.

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