Understanding Black Eye -- Symptoms

Medically Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on April 21, 2021

What Are the Symptoms of a Black Eye?

The signs of a black eye include bruising and swelling of the eyelid and soft tissue around the injured eye, sometimes accompanied by broken blood vessels along the white of the eye, called a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

The discoloration starts out deep purple or blue, then may turn green or yellow before disappearing, usually in about a week.

See a Doctor for a Black Eye If:

  • There was loss of consciousness as a result of the injury.
  • Black eyes appear affecting one or both eyes after a head injury; you should be examined by a doctor for possible skull fracture.
  • You have blurry or double vision.
  • You can't move your eyeball in all directions.

Any of the symptoms below may indicate damage to the eyeball, which should be evaluated and treated by an eye care specialist:

  • Your eyeball hurts.
  • You have an open cut around the eye.
  • You have blurred vision, or see multiple images or floating spots.
  • You are bleeding from the eye.
  • You experience unusual sensitivity to light or other vision changes.


Show Sources

James B.; Chew C, Bron A. "Trauma," Lecture Notes on Ophthalmology, Blackwell Publishing, 2003.

American Academy of Ophthalmology.


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