How Long Does a Black Eye Last?
Sometimes known as a shiner, a black eye is a bruising around the eyelids or the eye. They are mostly minor injuries, and sometimes they may heal on their own within a few days, but they may also mean there is a more severe injury like a skull fracture.
A black eye’s healing process can last anywhere from a week to three weeks, but mostly the eye recovers after two weeks depending on the amount of blood collected under the skin or the age as older people have weaker blood vessels. As a black eye heals, the swelling around the eye decreases and eventually fading away.
During the process, the bruised area will have a rainbow of colors ranging from black and blue initially, then changes to green, yellow, and brown before it returns to its normal eye color.
What Causes the Black Eye Injury
Black eye injuries are caused by either a blow to the area, a fall, a punch, or blunt force trauma. When the injury occurs, it breaks the capillaries or small blood vessels under the skin. As a result, blood and other fluids collect in the space around the eye, and this is what causes the bruising or discoloration. Accidents cause most black eyes, and therefore they are not a severe condition but may initially cause the eyelids to swell shut.
Other Causes of the Injury
Other causes of a black eye include a fracture that causes a black eye around both eyes, assault, an allergic reaction, a sinus infection, or an infection around the eye. They also appear after some dental work has been done or surgical procedures such as a facelift or nose surgery. For cosmetic or nasal surgeries, black eyes happen because the blood from the nose or forehead settles by gravity under the eye, causing the bruising. The blood that settles under the eye, usually associated with a fracture in the skull base, is known as raccoon eyes.
Home Remedies of a Black Eye
Black eyes are mostly minor injuries, and therefore there are several home treatments you can use to treat a black eye, but the best method is using an ice pack.
1. Apply Ice
This is effective when applied within the first 24 hours of the injury as it will slow the blood flow to the eye area, reducing how much blood collects under your skin. Ice also decreases any pain and swelling near the eye. If you don’t have ice cubes available, use an icepack or a cold compress
The steps to safely use ice home treatment are:
i. Place ice cubes in a plastic bag and wrap the bag in a clean towel to avoid direct contact with your skin.
ii. Apply the bag of frozen ice on your eye injury for 10 to 20 minutes at a time while avoiding pressing the eye.
iii. Repeat the same several times a day
It is necessary to note that using any food such as raw meat, steak, or any other food is unhealthy because it can get bacteria to your eye, thus causing an infection.
2. Warm Compress
After the eye swelling has gone down within several days, apply a warm compress, which helps the pain and stimulates healing by increasing blood flow to the area around the eye. You will need a large bowl and a small towel to use this home remedy.
The steps to use the warm compress are:
i. Fold the towel and place it in the bowl
ii. Fill the large bowl with hot water,
iii. Wring out the small towel and fold it into a square
iv. Finally, apply the warm compress to your eye area for around 20 minutes
3. Take Painkillers
For any pain, painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol may help but avoid aspirin unless prescribed by a doctor because it can worsen the bruising.
4. Incorporating a Bruise-Healing Diet
Specific foods may help strengthen the blood vessels or help heal, prevent or minimize bruises, such as pineapples, foods rich in Zinc such as spinach, foods rich in quercetin such as apples, foods rich in Vitamin K, and protein-rich foods.
Strategies to Boost the Recovery Process
1. When sleeping, have your head higher than the rest of the body
2. Refrain from any activity that could worsen your black eye condition because it could undermine the healing process or further hurt the eye. A black eye calls for enough rest
When to Seek Medical Treatment
You should always watch for any changes in your health, and so if you don’t get better as expected, call your nurse or doctor or seek medical attention immediately. Some home remedies cannot help the injury to the eye, so it is vital to see a doctor.
Some other critical symptoms that you should make you consult a doctor are:
- Vision changes such as loss of vision, blurring or double vision,
- Persistent headaches,
- Loss of consciousness,
- Severe pain inside the eye.
Seeking medical treatment is necessary with these symptoms because your black eye may be a symptom of a fracture, a serious head injury, or a concussion. You should also consult with an eye doctor if you experience the inability to move the eye.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does a black eye get worse before it gets better?
Sometimes the swelling and pain from your black eye will become worse before it becomes better, but after that, the swelling improves the black eye will go away.
2. Can a black eye be permanent?
Black eyes are mostly superficial injuries that don’t permanently damage the tissues around the eye. However, if your vision changes, it is a warning sign that the injury might be severe and might have caused damage either to the eye socket, skin around the eye, or the eye structure.
3. Can a broken eye socket cause bruising around the eye?
Yes, a broken socket causes several symptoms, the black eye with a dark discoloration around the injury being among them.