John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP
Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.
- Black eye introduction
- What causes a black eye?
- What are the signs and symptoms of a black eye?
- When should I call the doctor for a black eye?
- How is a black eye diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a black eye?
- What are the complications of black eye?
- How can I prevent a black eye?
- Black Eye At A Glance
- Find a local Doctor in your town
Black eye introduction
A black eye often results from injury to the face or the head, and is caused when blood and other fluids collect in the space around the eye. Swelling and dark discoloration result in a "black eye" – sometimes called a "shiner."
Most black eyes are relatively minor injuries. Many heal on their own in a few days, but they may signify a more serious injury.
Despite the name, "black eye," the eye itself is not usually injured. The tissues around the eye may be significantly discolored and swollen without any injury to the eye itself, like a bruise (ecchymosis) around the eye.
The skin around the eye is very loose, with mostly fat underneath it and fluid accumulates easily in this area. The skin around the eye is one of the first places to swell when the facial area is injured. Depending on the location and type of injury, one or both eyes may be affected. Injuries to the eye brow and forehead area often result in black eyes because gravity pulls the blood and inflammatory fluid into the soft tissues under and around the eyes.
As a black eye heals, the swelling around the eye decreases, and the bruise gradually fades away. The bruising will usually start out a very dark purple, and as it fades, it may change to light purple, then greenish, then yellow before disappearing.
What causes a black eye?
The most common cause of a black eye is a blow to the eye, nose, or forehead. Depending on where the blow lands, one or both eyes may be affected.
A blow to the nose often causes both eyes to swell because the swelling from the nasal injury causes fluid to collect in the loose tissues of the eyelids.
Other causes of black eye include:
- surgical procedures to the face, such as a
surgery, or nose
- a certain type of head injury, called a basilar skull fracture, causes both eyes to swell and blacken; this condition is typically described as "raccoon eyes;"
Other causes of swelling around the eye include (these conditions do not make the skin turn black and blue around the eye):
- allergic reactions,
- cellulitis (skin infection around the eye),
- angioedema (swelling, usually around both eyes), and
- dental infections.
Viewers share their comments
Get breaking medical news.