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Eye Injury: First Aid for a Black Eye - Topic Overview

A black eye is a type of bruise. Simple bruises are treated with ice and by elevating the head. The bruise should be gone in 2 to 3 weeks.

  • Apply ice or cold packs for 15 minutes 3 or 4 times a day during the first 48 hours to help reduce swelling. Place a cloth between the ice and the skin. The sooner you apply a cold pack, the less swelling will occur.
  • Do not use chemical cooling packs. If the pack leaks, the chemicals could cause more eye damage. Do not use a raw piece of meat on a black eye.
  • Keep the head raised to help reduce swelling.
  • Be sure to look at the eyeball for possible injury.
  • After the swelling is gone, warm compresses may relieve pain.
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
Try an over-the-counter medicine to help treat your fever or pain:
Safety tips
Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use an over-the-counter medicine:
  • Carefully read and follow all directions on the medicine bottle and box.
  • Do not use more than the recommended dose.
  • Do not take a medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.
  • If you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take it.
  • If you are or could be pregnant, call your doctor before you take any medicine.
  • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your doctor tells you to.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 03, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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