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Black Eye


A black eye is a bruise to your eye or the area around it. The eyelid, eyeball, or the bones around your eye may be involved with a black eye. The dark area around the eye is caused by bleeding under the skin. It may take two to three weeks for the bruising around your eye to go away.



  • Always take your medicine as directed by your caregiver. If you feel it is not helping, call your caregiver. Do not quit taking it unless your caregiver tells you to.
  • Keep track of what medicines you are taking and when and why you take them. Bring a list of your medicines or the medicine bottles when you see your caregivers. Ask your caregiver for information about your medicines.
  • Take ibuprofen (eye-bu-PROH-fen) or acetaminophen (a-seet-a-MIN-oh-fen) for eye pain. This medicine may be bought over-the-counter at drug or grocery stores. Ask your caregiver if you do not know how much to take. Your caregiver may tell you to avoid taking aspirin for 24 to 48 hours after getting a black eye. Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age.

How can I take care of my black eye?

  • You may continue your normal activities. However, do not do heavy lifting or exercise for 48 hours after getting a black eye. This could lead to more bleeding under the skin.
  • Make an ice bag. Use a bag of frozen corn or peas, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Gently close your eye and place the ice bag over your eye for 15 to 20 minutes. Do this every hour as long as you need it for the first 24 hours. Ice helps decrease inflammation (swelling, pain, and redness). Do not sleep with the ice pack on your eye because you can get frostbite.
  • Use warm compresses on your eye after the first 24 hours. Do this by soaking a clean washcloth in warm water. Wring out the washcloth and place it gently over your eye. Do this for 15 to 20 minutes every hour as long as you need it. Warm compresses decrease swelling and help absorb blood.
  • Sleep with your head raised on two or more pillows. This may help decrease eye swelling and pain.
  • Wear protective eyewear when playing most sports. This includes sports such as baseball, basketball, and racquet sports. Use eye protectors that have polycarbonate lenses and that meet the American Society of Testing and Materials standards.


  • Severe (very bad) headache.
  • Nosebleed that will not stop.
  • Questions about your black eye or medicine.


  • Nausea (upset stomach) and vomiting (throwing up).
  • Dizziness or faintness.
  • Confusion (you cannot think clearly). Call if you cannot walk or move the way you normally do.
  • Changes in your vision, like double vision or not seeing at all.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Black Eye (Discharge Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.