A black eye is generally not a serious issue. While you and I might call it a ‘shiner’, doctors refer to it as a periorbital hematoma.
However, there are circumstances under which you would be well advised to seek prompt medical attention. For example, when the injury involves a skull fracture or damage to the eyeball.
Did you know that only 15 percent of black eyes are the result of violence? It’s true!
Most black eyes occur by accident while playing sports, working, or as a result of a car accident. Men are four times more likely to suffer black eyes than women.
What Is the Best Way to Conceal a Black Eye?
A black eye can sometimes take as long as two weeks to heal completely, and a severe black eye can take even longer. Unless you plan to stay home and not leave the house for as long as your black eye takes to heal (or unless you plan to wear sunglasses everywhere you go), you may want to try concealing it with makeup.
Most drug stores have a wide selection of cosmetics, and it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a concealer that matches your skin tone. Make sure there is no broken skin before applying concealer, and do not use concealer if you have stitches.
First, it is important to wait until any swelling has gone down before using cosmetics to conceal your black eye. Don’t interfere with the healing process by applying makeup while the eye is still swollen. This will cause your black eye to last longer.
Another reason to wait until the swelling goes down is this: in the early stages of the healing process you will be holding an ice pack against your eye for much of the time. This will cause any makeup you apply to rub off, making any attempt at concealing your black eye futile.
Most drug stores and pharmacy chains have a wide selection of eye cosmetics, and it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a concealer that matches your skin tone.
Side note: do not use concealer if you have stitches.
These are the items you will need to conceal your black eye:
- Concealer or foundation two shades lighter than your skin
- Concealer brush for application (don’t use your fingers; that will cause your makeup to smudge)
- Soft-bristle eye-shadow brush for blending
- A pale green matte eye-shadow pigment of some sort (nothing shiny)
- Pink/tan/brown flesh-colored eye shadow
- Contour palette and bronzer for blending
Note: Green helps to correct the appearance of excessive redness in the skin. You can create a green concealer by blending your concealer or foundation with green eye-shadow pigment.
Steps to Take to Conceal Your Black Eye
- Put a small dollop of concealer or foundation on the back of your hand; you will use your hand as a palette.
- Using the concealer brush, blend the concealer or foundation with the green eye shadow. If you find you have used too much green, add some more foundation to your mixture until it looks right.
- The mixture should have a pale, light-green appearance, but it should not look like you’re planning to audition for the next “Incredible Hulk” movie!
- Using the eye shadow brush, gently apply eye shadow over the area where you have applied the mixture of concealer (or foundation) and green eye shadow; use whatever combination of tan, pink, and/or brown is necessary to match the tone of the skin in the area surrounding your black eye.
- Just as green counteracts red, pink will work to counter the appearance of yellow. You may need to use pink eye shadow in the foundation mixture in some areas, depending on the color and tone of your skin and how much yellow appears in your bruise (this will likely change as the bruise heals).
- When this is done, you will probably notice that while your black eye injury is no longer visible as such, it now looks unnaturally smoother and brighter than your other, uninjured eye.
To address this difference in color between your eyes and keep a natural appearance:
- apply to your “good” eye the same color mixture of tan/pink/brown eye shadow that you used for the top layer of makeup over your black eye.
- Finally, you will need to create a blended look over your entire face, so that it isn’t obvious that you’re wearing a ton of makeup on your eyes. Use the foundation you would normally use … but be gentle! You don’t want to undo all the painstaking work you’ve done so far to conceal your black eye.
- After you have finished blending your mixture of eye make-up over the rest of your face, apply a little bronzer around the contours of the area where you applied all that foundation and eye shadow.
And remember, if you’re reading this, you should have an uninjured eye; if both eyes are black eyes, then concealing a black eye should be the least of your worries—you may have a serious head injury, and you need to see a doctor immediately.
Why Does a Black Eye Happen?
A black eye is really nothing more than a bruise around your eye—i.e., bleeding under the skin. It is caused by blunt trauma, such as might result from a careless collision with a doorframe or a tennis ball, or from an unexpected punch in the face during a physical altercation.
The blood collects in the space surrounding the eye, and eventually becomes visible through the skin. In most cases these injuries heal on their own within a few weeks and medical attention is generally not required.
A black eye is usually characterized by these symptoms:
- Pain and swelling
- Dark purple and yellow discoloration of the skin around the eye socket
- Difficulty opening the eye
What Are Possible Complications from a Black Eye?
While it’s rarely a serious injury, it may indicate a fracture or damage to the eye socket or to the eye itself. In some cases victims of eye injury may experience hyphema, which is bleeding in the antechamber of the eye. This is the fluid-filled area between the cornea and the iris.
Ocular hypertension (that is, high pressure within the eye) can also result from the type of blunt-force injury.
In rare cases, other problems may be arise with a black eye. These may include:
But again, this is only seen every now and then.
It’s also a good idea to add vitamins and antioxidants to your diet. If you want to learn more about specific vitamins and minerals that are essential for your eye health, click here.
Other reasons to seek immediate medical attention:
- Changes in your vision, such as blurring or double vision
- Loss of vision
- Severe, persistent pain
- Pain with eye movement
- Discharge from the eye (this may be a sign of infection)
- Bleeding from the eye
- Drowsiness or feelings of disorientation (these may be signs of a concussion)
- Blood or any type of fluid leaking from your ears (this too may be a sign of a concussion)
- Dizziness or nausea
- Swelling has not gone down after a few days
- Loss of consciousness at the time of the injury
- Inability to move the eye
- The eyeball appears deformed
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor?
- Do I have a concussion, or just a bruised eye socket?
- Will I need additional medical treatment, or will an ice pack and a bottle of ibuprofen suffice?
- How bad have I damaged my eyeball?
- How long will it take my black eye to heal?
- I have two black eyes, but I do not recall having injured both of them. Is it possible that I have a head injury severe enough to have caused a basilar skull fracture?
- Should I set another appointment for a checkup?