Black Eye Contusion


A black eye is usually a minor and benign injury caused from a blunt force trauma directly to the eye or nose area. “Black eye” describes the discoloration that occurs when capillaries are damaged and allow blood to seep into nearby skin, subcutaneous, bone, and/or muscle tissue. The “black and blue” result usually only lasts a few days. However, a black eye can occasionally be an indicator of more serious injury or condition . Black eye is also known by any of the following terms:

* Orbital contusion
* Eye contusion
* Contusion of or to the eye
* Periorbital contusion
* Eye bruise
* Bruised eye


The eye socket protects the eye and is composed of the lower edge of the frontal skull bone, the nasal bones, and the maxilla. The conjunctiva, a thin membrane covering the eyeball; eye lids; and eye lashes serve as protection for the front of the eye. Other structures include:

* Retina: the thin membrane in the posterior of the eye which contains the rod and cone cells for vision and transmits what a person sees to the brain via the optic nerve.
* Sclera - strong white outer layer of the eyeball.
* Iris - the colored part of the eye.
* Pupil - the dark circular opening at the center of the iris.
* Cornea - the clear cap that protects the iris and pupil.
* Lens - a clear soft disc the receives light from the pupil and focuses images.
* Ciliary body - has muscles which control the shape of the lens.
* Vitreous humor- the fluid component that fills the main cavity of the eye between the lens and the retina.
* Choroid - contains some of the blood vessels supplying the eye and large pigmented cells.

What Is A Black Eye

Approximately 2.4 million eye injuries occur each year in the United States. Because the skin around the eye is situated in close proximity to bone, with little muscle or fatty tissue to protect blood vessels, the eye area is extremely prone to contusion.

A black eye will usually appear within 24 hours from when the injury occurred. It occurs as capillaries leak blood into surrounding tissue and the blood accumulates. The structures of the eye itself aren’t injured in most contusion incidences. However, the eye socket, eyelids, eyeball, adjacent structures, and adjacent muscles may all be involved in the contusion. If so, the black eye could be an indicator of additional injury, such as a detached retina or bone fracture.

Causes Of A Black Eye

* In most cases, the causative factor involves being struck around the eye or nose area during a sporting activity, fall, or physical altercation.

* A workplace that exposes the eye or nose to potential occupational hazards may also be a source of an eye or nose injury that could produce a black eye. There are about 165,000 work-related contusion injuries each year in the United States.

* Those with a bleeding disorder, such as hemophilia; certain vitamin deficiencies; or use any medication that affects clotting or promotes bleeding can easily get a black eye, even from non-forceful contact with the eye.

* Black eyes often result after surgical procedures involving the face.

* A basilar skull fracture will cause what‘s called, “raccoon eyes.” Both eyes blacken and swell, with or without trauma directly to the face.

* People with sinusitis can sometimes get an “allergic shiner.” When blood vessels become inflamed and engorged from the allergy, it can produce a blackening of the eye.

Symptoms Of A Black Eye

As blood fills the surrounding tissue, a black and blue area (bruise) will usually appear. Localized redness, swelling, pain, tenderness, and headache may also develop shortly after the causative incident. Over the course of a few days, the blood is broken down and reabsorbed into the body. The color of the area will change to a yellow- green, brown, and then back to normal coloration as blood is being broken down. A blow to the nose can cause one or both eyes to bruise. Severe swelling may also make it difficult to open the affected eye.

Indicators of additional more serious injury includes:

* Excessive tearing
* Double vision
* Loss of vision
* Blurry vision
* Vision with shadows
* Eyeball redness
* Bleeding or broken blood vessels seen in the white of the eye
* Inability to move the eye
* Persistent headache that doesn’t subside






Acute Stage Treatment

Use the Acute Sinew Liniment to very gently massage the puffy or swollen area around your eye. You should very gently use your thumb to depress into the soft tissue of the bruised area and move the stagnant fluids and blood outwardly from the eye. Be careful not to actually get the liniment into your eye.