When should you see an eye doctor for a black eye?

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23743654 - black eye on a caucasian man close upA black eye can look pretty gruesome. The soft tissue around your eyes is more transparent, which can make the bruise appear darker than it might on another area of your skin. A black eye works much like a regular bruise: the blood vessels break which causes this discoloration. However, you have to be extra careful because your eye is a very sensitive area. That’s why it’s important to know how to handle it correctly and when it’s time to call an eye doctor.

What causes black eyes?

The typical cause of a black eye is blunt trauma. Eye injuries can occur from flying debris when you’re working on a project, playing sports, tripping on a rug, etc. There are numerous causes that can lead you to experience a blow to the eye. That’s why eye doctors recommend wearing the proper eye protection for sports and other activities that could put your eyes in danger. Talk with your eye doctor for suggestions regarding which eye protection you should use for your particular activity.

While a blunt impact is the typical cause of a black eye, there can be other causes, including cosmetic procedures or dental work. “More serious causes of black eyes include cellulitis (a serious infection around the eyes).” Also, a skull fracture can cause both eyes to look bruised.

How do you treat black eyes?

The good news is, typically black eyes are not a big cause for concern. You may be able to treat it at home with ice. Apply ice as soon as possible after the injury. Use a bag of frozen peas or other cold compress. Wrap a cloth around it to keep your skin protected. You’ll want to hold the compress on for about 10 minutes per session, and apply it about “every 1-2 hours.” Make sure you allow at least 10 minutes between each session though. Please stay away from the practice of placing red meat on your eye as it can increase your risk of developing an infection.

Talk with your eye doctor about other possible treatment options. You may be able to use Tylenol to reduce pain, but NOT Asprin (it is a blood thinner). Black eyes usually heal within about a 1-2 weeks.

When should you see an eye doctor or medical practitioner?

The usual signs of a black eye are swelling and discoloration (purple, blue, green, and/or yellow). The whites of your eyes may also have broken blood vessels. However, sometimes other symptoms can occur and you should be aware of them. In fact, some signs may mean a trip to an emergency room or an eye doctor is necessary.

If you black out because of the injury, experience dizziness, fainting, a persistent headache, or vomiting you should seek medical attention. Other symptoms to watch for are double vision and blurry vision, or if both eyes are affected. When both eyes are affected by the impact it may indicate a skull fracture. If you’re unable to move your eyeball a certain way or at all, you need to be seen immediately. Another potential problem that can arise that would require going to the emergency room is hyphema, which is “bleeding inside the anterior part of the eye (between the back side of the cornea and the front of the iris).”

It’s a good practice to make an appointment with your eye doctor anytime you have an eye injury, including a black eye. But, you especially want to make an appointment if your eye hurts, there’s an open cut near your eye, or you’re experiencing blurry vision or floating spots. If you’re experiencing any vision changes or sensitivity to light, talk to your eye doctor as soon as possible.

When in doubt, talk to your eye care professional about any concerns you have. Take the precautions necessary to protect your eyes and your vision. If you’re looking for an eye doctor in Draper Utah, contact Cataract & LASIK Center of Utah. We’re invested in keeping your eyes healthy!

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