How To Treat A Black Eye With Basic First Aid:
Black eyes might make you a little less attractive (or a little more), but they are rarely considered to be a serious injury or require immediate medical attention. However, it’s not how to treat a black eye that you need to worry about; it’s the cause of the black eye. So even with a “minor” injury like a black eye, you still want to take the necessary precautions and first aid measures to ensure that there aren’t any other, more major underlying injuries.
What is a Black Eye?
A black eye is formed from bleeding under the skin’s surface. Usually, a black eye is no cause for concern; however, with the presence of blood, even if it’s under the skin, comes the potential of a serious injury. In this case, the serious injuries will most always involve either the eye or skull.
Eye-related Injuries. Any trauma to the eye region can potentially cause hyphema – a condition in which blood seeps into the eye(s). The bleeding can occur in one or more parts of the eye – the cornea, iris, or pupil. If not handled immediately, it can potentially lead to permanent vision impairment or blindness.
Skull Injuries. A hard enough blow to the face can fracture the skull. And, of course, a fractured skull can cause serious and permanent damage. Black eyes across both eyes (commonly called raccoon eyes) and/or other head injuries sustained from the trauma indicate an increased risk of a fracture.
Symptoms of a Black Eye
The symptoms of a black eye are usually very easy to detect. Here’s what you want to look for:
- Darkening or reddening of the impacted area shortly after incident
- Dark bruises that form around one or both eyes (usually a few minutes after incident)
- Pain and/or swelling of the impacted area
- Vision impairment – blurred vision, seeing double, and/or loss of vision
- Inability or struggle to maneuver eye
- Severe pain at any of the impacted areas
- Bleeding from nose or eye(s)
How to Treat a Black Eye
Most typical black eye issues can be treated using the Basic First Aid, but black eyes that include more serious symptoms will need the Serious Treatment:
Basic First Aid
- Apply ice or a cold rag to the impacted area as soon as possible. This will help reduce swelling. Be as gentle as possible, and don’t put any pressure on the actual eye.
- If possible, take pain medication. Any of the OTC pain relievers will work fine: Advil, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Aleve, or any of their generic alternatives.
- Protect the impacted area. Avoid as much contact with the impacted area as possible. A bandage or other protective material can be used to help prevent contact if needed.
- Apply ice to the impacted area in the same way you would with a Typical Treatment.
- Look closely for evidence of blood in the impacted area’s eye. Check the cornea, the iris, and the pupil. If blood is visible, seek medical attention immediately.
- Check for any signs of vision impairment, severe pain, or active bleeding from the nose and/or eyes. If any of these symptoms are present, seek medical attention immediately.
If you suspect someone has a black eye that is worse than they think, seek medical help immediately as basic first aid isn’t enough!
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