Request Appointment

Black Eye

A black eye is really a bruise around your eye. It is often caused by an injury to your face or head. It is not usually due to an injury to the eye itself. The swelling and black-and-blue color happen because of blood and fluids collecting in the skin around your eye. A black eye should return to normal in 1 or 2 weeks.

Close-up of a woman with a black eye.

When to go to the emergency room (ER)

In many cases, a black eye is a minor injury. It can be treated with cold packs and pain medicine. But seek medical care right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • A change or loss of vision

  • An eye that won't look in more than one direction

  • Blood inside your eye, or bleeding from your nose or ears

  • Fluid leaking from your eye

What to expect in the ER

  • Your injury will be examined.

  • Your vision, the way your eye moves, and the bones around your eye will be checked.

  • You may have a fluorescein stain test. This uses dye and a special light to check for eye damage.

  • An X-ray or other tests may be done.

  • Depending on the results of your exam and tests, you may be referred to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist).


While your eye is healing, call your healthcare provider if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Swelling that doesn't improve after a few days

  • Increased or severe pain

  • Changes in your vision

  • Warmth, redness, or pus near the bruise

To reduce pain and swelling from a black eye

  • Apply ice packs every 20 minutes you're awake for the first 24 hours.

  • Use warm compresses every 20 minutes for the next 24 hours.


Was this helpful?

Yes No

Tell us more.

Check all that apply.

Last question: How confident are you filling out medical forms by yourself?

Not at all A little Somewhat Quite a bit Extremely

Thank You!

Discrimination is Against the Law. We comply with applicable Federal civil rights laws. We do not discriminate against, exclude or treat people differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex.
 Visit Other Fairview Sites 
(c) 2017 Fairview Health Services. All rights reserved.