Is There Such Thing As a Black Eye?


Quick Answer

Black eyes are caused by bleeding underneath the skin due to blunt impact. The skin underneath the eyes is thinner, so blood pooling in the area is more obvious than in other areas, giving the distinctive shine to a black eye.

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Full Answer

Black eyes are caused by strikes to the eye, forehead or nose areas. A blow to the nose in particular may cause both eyes to swell, while a strike to one eye only affects that side. Some surgical procedures can also cause black eyes, such as facelifts or nose or jaw surgery. The area underneath the eyes is loose and full of fat, so fluid can easily accumulate in the area due to the affects of gravity.

Black eyes are best treated with cold packs placed around the affected area, taking care to avoid the eye. The cold reduces swelling and should be applied over 24 to 48 hours. The Mayo Clinic suggests that while black eyes may not be serious, the impact that leads to a black eye warrants a medical examination. They can cause high pressure or bleeding inside the eye, potentially leading to sight loss. Any strikes that cause vision issues or pain also require immediate medical attention.

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