Black eyes can also be a sign of a more significant injury - especially if both eyes are black following an injury to the head.
Call 911 immediately if you see any of the following:
- bleeding from the eyeball (DO NOT apply pressure)
- loss of consciousness
- two black eyes (especially if the injury was to a part of the head other than the face)
- loss of vision or blurred vision
- vertigo (dizziness)
- During the first 24-48 hours, place an icepack lightly on the black eye for about 20 minutes of each waking hour. Do not leave ice on the eye for more than 20 minutes at a time.
- After the first 48 hours, changing from ice to heat may improve healing. Again, only about 20 minutes at a time, about once an hour.
- Watch the eye for swelling or infection. If the victim's vision is obstructed from swelling, or there is drainage or bleeding from the eye, call a doctor.
- Never put raw meat on a black eye. There is a first aid myth that putting steak on a black eye will help it heal faster. It will not. In fact, putting raw meat on a black eye is more likely to cause an infection (see E coli).
- Never put pressure on the eyeball. Eyes are delicate and pressure can lead to serious permanent injury.
- Ice works to decrease swelling, but there's not really anything that can be done for the discoloration. It will eventually fade.