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Eye Injury: First Aid for a Black Eye

Overview

A black eye is a type of bruise. Simple bruises are treated with ice and by elevating the head. The bruise should be gone in 2 to 3 weeks.

  • Inspect the eyeball.

    Be sure to look at the eyeball for possible injury.

  • Use ice or cold.

    Apply ice or cold packs for 15 minutes 3 or 4 times a day during the first 48 hours to help reduce swelling. Place a cloth between the ice and the skin. The sooner you apply a cold pack, the less swelling will occur.

    • Do not use chemical cooling packs. If the pack leaks, the chemicals could cause more eye damage.
    • Do not use a raw piece of meat on a black eye.
  • Keep the head raised to help reduce swelling.
  • Follow with warmth.

    After the swelling is gone, warm compresses may relieve pain.

  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

    If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed. If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: October 12, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine

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