About black eyes
The most common cause of a black eye is a blow to the eye or nose. This can happen if children bump into something or are hit by something.
This can damage the sensitive tissues around the eye and lead to bleeding under the skin, which causes swelling and bruising.
Symptoms of a black eye
The symptoms of a black eye include pain, swelling and bruising. The skin starts off red and then progresses to purple, yellow, green or black.
Does your child need to see a doctor about a black eye?
Seek medical advice immediately from your GP or a hospital emergency department if your child:
- complains of blurred or double vision
- has trouble seeing
- can't open her eye comfortably
- can't move her eye - that is, she can't look in different directions
- has redness or swelling in the white of the eye
- has both eyes blackened, especially if there has been any blow to her head
- has cuts around the eye or you think something might have penetrated her eyeball.
Also seek urgent medical advice if:
- your child's eye looks strange to you
- your child has bleeding or clear discharge from the nose or ears
- your child is drowsy or behaving unusually
- your child has headache, nausea or vomiting
- you suspect concussion.
Treatment for a black eye
If your child has a black eye, put an ice-pack gently over the eye for 10-20 minutes every two hours for the first 24 hours. This can help reduce the swelling.
After using an ice-pack, gently lift your child's swollen eyelid to check his eye for damage.
You can give your child medication like paracetamol and ibuprofen to help with pain.
Sleeping propped up on a few pillows can also help reduce the swelling around the eyes.
It can take 1-2 weeks for the swelling and bruising to go away completely.