in: Featured, Health, Health & Fitness, Visual Guides

• Last updated: May 31, 2021

How to Treat a Black Eye

How to treat a black eye diagram illustration.

If you were a kid in the 1950s and you got socked during a playground fight, chances are the remedy for your ensuing black eye would involve a nice T-bone steak. Before ice packs were widely available, chilled meat was the go-to household remedy for treating a black eye because it offered a way to cool the area and decrease swelling without applying raw ice. Nowadays, we’ve got more tools and a bit more knowledge at our disposal when it comes to the treatment of shiners. 
Black eyes happen when there is trauma to the area. The color comes from bleeding that occurs under the skin near the eye. In most cases, black eyes aren’t serious. But, they can signal a more significant injury. If you have double vision, blood showing in the white part of your eyeball, vomiting, or dizziness, you should see a doctor right away. Black eyes can be signs of more severe injuries, like skull fractures. But, for commonplace black eyes, here’s what to do to get them healed up as quickly as possible.

1: Place a cold compress on your eye for 15 minutes at a time, as often as possible (though no more than once an hour), for 1-2 days.

2: Check regularly for blood in the white part of your eye. If it appears, see a doctor immediately.

3: Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling.

4: Switch to a warm compress after two days or once the selling has stopped.

5: Gently massage the area around the eye to increase blood flow and encourage healing.

6: Eat lots of pineapple and oranges. The vitamins and enzymes help reduce swelling and decrease bruising.

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Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

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