What is a black eye?

A black often results from injury to the face or the head, and is caused when blood and other fluids collect in the space around the eye. Swelling and dark discoloration results in a “black eye”.

Despite the name, “black eye,” the eye itself is not usually injured. The tissues around the eye may be significantly discolored and swollen without any injury to the eye itself and should heal on its own in a few days. However, it is prudent to see an ophthalmologist immediately to rule out any severe eye injuries.

The most common cause of a black eye is a blow to the eye or nose.


Signs of a non-threatening black eye include:

  • Swelling and discoloration around the eye
  • Mild pain around the eye
  • Temporary blurred vision
  • Difficulty in fully opening your eye

Signs of a more serious eye injury include:

  • Double vision
  • Loss of sight and/or fuzzy vision could occur
  • Inability to move the eye or large swelling around the eye
  • Blood on the surface of the eye itself or cuts on the eye itself
  • Persistent headache or migraine

Remember: A black eye can also be caused by complications such as traumatic iritis and uveitis, hyphema, glaucoma orbital floor fracture and retinal detachment.


Home remedies for black eye include rest and applying ice or frozen peas to the affected areas to decrease swelling and pain.

To avoid a black eye, wear appropriate protective gear for any athletic or work-related activity, don’t leave objects on the stairs, since this can easily result in a fall and eye injury, ensure rugs, which can be a trip hazard, lie flat and are wrinkle-free.

Do you have any queries regarding black eyes or any other eye condition? Please place your query on the comment section below or contact us via: info@cityeyehospital.or.ke.

If you need medical attention, contact us via +254 (0) 707 777 707 or visit us at City Eye Hospital, Ngong Rd, Opposite Traffic Police Station, Nairobi, Kenya.

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