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Black Eye in Children: Care Instructions

Picture of a black eye


A black eye is bruising and swelling around the eye or the eyelids. The swelling from a black eye may get worse over the next couple of days. After that, the swelling should steadily improve until it is gone.

The bruise around your child's eye will change colours as it heals. The skin may turn from black and blue to green, yellow, and brown before it returns to its normal colour. It may take 1 to 3 weeks to return to normal.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Put ice or a cold pack on the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice pack and your child's skin.
  • Protect your child's eye from further injury. Until the eye is healed, avoid activities where it could get hit.
  • Ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has any new changes in vision, such as double vision or blurring.
  • Your child has new or increased pain in or around the eye.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your child's eye turns red, gets very teary, or has discharge.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.