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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
- Seek emergency medical attention right away.
- Immediately apply ice or a cold compress for 15 minutes 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 medications like ibuprofen because these drugs 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 fighting.
Special Note on Domestic Violence
American Academy of Opthalmology http://www.aao.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) http://www.ndvh.org
National Eye Institute http://www.nei.nih.gov
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 [brochure]. 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: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated September 27, 2011. Accessed March 20, 2013.
Eye injuries. Nemours Foundation KidsHealth.org website. Available at http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid%5Fsafe/emergencies/eye%5Finjury.html. Updated January 2011. Accessed September 25, 2005.
Johns Hopkins University. The Johns Hopkins Family Health Book. New York: Harper Collins Publishing; 1999.
What is a black eye? American Academy of Ophthalmology eyeSmart website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/black-eye.cfm. Accessed March 20, 2013.
- Reviewer: Peter Lucas, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012
- Update Date: 05/11/2013