Black Eye: Care Instructions

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Picture of a black eye

Overview

A black eye is bruising and swelling around the eye or the eyelids. The swelling from your 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 eye will change colors as it heals. The skin may turn from black and blue to green, yellow, and brown before it returns to its normal color. It may take 1 to 3 weeks to return to normal.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself 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 skin.
  • Protect your eye from further injury. Until your eye is healed, avoid activities where it could get hit.
  • Ask your doctor if you 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 now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have any new changes in vision, such as double vision or blurring.
  • You have new or increased pain in or around your eye.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.