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Black Eye (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

Most black eyes are minor injuries that heal on their own in a few days with ice and pain medications. An eye doctor (ophthalmologist) should examine the injured eye to make sure no significant injury to the eye has occurred.

Call your doctor if these conditions develop with a black eye:

  • Changes in vision
  • Severe pain continues
  • The swelling is not related to an injury
  • Signs of infection (for example, warmth, redness, pus-like drainage).
  • You are unsure about treatment or concerned about symptoms.
  • Swelling does not start to improve after a few days.

Seek immediate medical care for these conditions:

  • Changes in or loss of vision, especially double vision
  • Inability to move the eye (for example, unable to look in different directions)
  • Any injury in which you think an object pierced the eye or may be inside the eyeball
  • Obvious blood in the eye
  • Deformity to the eye or fluid leaking from the eyeball
  • Any lacerations (cuts) to the eye area

Go to a hospital's emergency department if you have signs of a serious head or facial injury:

  • Broken bones
  • Broken teeth
  • Loss of consciousness (knocked out)
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or dizziness after the injury
  • Behavioral changes, forgetfulness, or lethargy
  • Inability to walk after the injury
  • Blood or clear fluids from the nose or the ears
  • Lacerations to the face or the head
  • Any signs of infection, such as fever

People who take blood thinners, (for example, warfarin [Coumadin]), or those with a history of bleeding problems such as hemophilia, should go to a hospital's emergency department.

Swelling either after a bee sting near the eye or from a suspected infection of the eye should be evaluated by a doctor.

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