Does having a black eye give reason to book an eye exam with your Toronto eye clinic?
Will it the injury request vision-correcting laser eye surgery?
Perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to never have had a shiner – a swollen bruise that occurs when fluids collect around the eye after an injury such as blunt force trauma to the eye area.
Like any other kind of bruise, the dark blue/purplish/black colour is caused by broken blood vessels under the skin, and is characterized by swelling and discoloration all the way around, or just underneath, the eye socket.
But because it surrounds arguably the most delicate area of the body – the eye – should you be more worried about this type of bruise than any other?
The Good News About Black Eyes
You know how a forehead or tongue wound bleeds a lot, even if it is a very shallow, minor cut?
The eye area is similar, because the skin is very thin and transparent around the eyes. That means that even minor damage can cause a big bruise combined with the accumulated fluid that causes swelling, making the injury appear severe when it is not.
While trauma from being struck with an object or walking into a door can easily cause a black eye to appear, and can even cause blood vessels to burst inside the eyeball for a disturbingly red-eyed appearance, there are other very benign causes as well, such as surgery to the eyes or nose, sinusitis, and even certain kinds of dental work!
Since most black eyes fall into one of the above categories, as severe as they look, they are often not a serious condition and will simply heal on their own.
Treatment for a ‘regular’ black eye mainly involves cold – compresses, ice packs – to bring down the swelling and reduce bruising.
Putting a piece of raw liver or steak on a black eye is an old wives’ tale that can do more harm than good, because there may be minor lacerations around the eye area that can pick up bacteria from raw meat, causing infection.
Tylenol is good to take for the pain; aspirin can make your black eye look worse, because of its blood-thinning action.
Once a couple of days have passed, you can switch to warm compresses to get the healing blood flowing again, and consume lots of fruits and veggies that contain Vitamin C, which speeds healing.
You can also gently massage the eye area.
The Bad News About Black Eyes
Although most black eyes are mere bruises that must heal like any other, there are some causes of black eyes that do indicate something much more serious that can compromise vision, among other things.
- Cellulitis – a serious infection
- Hyphema – a medical emergency wherein there is bleeding inside the eye. Left untreated, hyphema can cause increased eye pressure resulting in permanent vision loss.
- Skull fracture – can cause ‘raccoon eyes’ or two black eyes at once
When to See the Optometrist About a Black Eye
How to know when a black eye is serious enough to visit your Toronto optometrist and seek urgent medical treatment? Look for these signs and symptoms:
-Blood flowing from eyes or nose
-Loss of consciousness
-Vision changes like double vision, blurriness or sudden vision loss
-Seeing floaters or light spots
-Severe pain and/or headache
-Inability to move your eyes
-Flu-like symptoms like fever, lethargy or vomiting
-Signs of infection like warmth, pus and redness
-Both eyes blackened
If your black eye has you worried, call us immediately at (416) 966-1955. A friendly member of our highly trained staff will be pleased to discuss your injury and quickly schedule an appointment to have it checked.
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