About black eyes
The most common cause of a black eye is a blow to the eye or nose. This can happen if children bump into something or something hits them.
This can damage the sensitive tissues around the eye and lead to bleeding under the skin, which causes swelling and bruising.
Symptoms of a black eye
The symptoms of a black eye include pain, swelling and bruising.
Does your child need to see a doctor about a black eye?
Seek medical advice immediately from your GP or a hospital emergency department if your child:
- complains of blurred or double vision
- has trouble seeing
- can’t open their eye comfortably
- can’t move their eye to look in different directions
- has redness or swelling in the white of the eye
- has blackness around both eyes, especially if there has been any blow to their head
- has cuts around the eye or you think something might have penetrated their eyeball.
Also seek urgent medical advice if your child’s eye looks strange to you or your child:
- has bleeding or clear discharge from the nose or ear
- is drowsy or behaving unusually
- has headache, nausea or vomiting
- has signs of concussion.
Treatment for a black eye
If your child has a black eye, put an ice-pack gently over the eye for 10-20 minutes every 2 hours for the first 24 hours. This can help reduce the swelling.
After using an ice-pack, gently lift your child’s swollen eyelid to check their eye for damage.
You can give your child medication like paracetamol and ibuprofen to help with pain.
If your child sleeps propped up on a few pillows, this can also help to reduce swelling around their eyes.
It can take 1-2 weeks for the swelling and bruising to go away completely.