Sometimes referred to as a “shiner,” a black eye is a bruise that shows up around one of your eyes. Whenever any kind of an object hits your eye, the impact that causes blood vessels in the eyelids and surrounding tissues to break. This causes blood to collect underneath the skin, which results in blue and black discoloration both around the eye socket and in the eyelids. Since the skin in this area is relatively thin, the bruising may seem a lot darker than in most other areas of the body.
There are many people who associate black eyes with cases of violence; however, only 15% of eye injuries are actually caused by something like this. In fact, many of these injuries are caused by accident, such as work, auto accidents, and contact sports. Furthermore, men are known to get these injuries four times more than women do. The most common source of a black eye injury is generally a blunt object, such as a baseball, rock, hammer, etc., and these injuries commonly occur in the home.
As previously stated, black eyes cause swelling and blue and black discoloration around the soft tissues and eyelids of the affected eye. Additionally, there can also be small amounts of bleeding on the whites of the eye thanks to trauma, as well as the inner lining of he eyelids. Another problem can occur if you begin to experience bright or dark red discoloration of the eyeball itself. This is likely caused by a subconjunctival hemorrhage, which is where a small blood vessel in the eye breaks and bleeds.
When Should a Doctor Be Called?
In many cases, black eyes are no more dangerous than a bruise that you get on one of your arms or legs. On the other hand, there are also times where black eyes can be signs of a more serious issue, such as whenever your eye socket gets fractured or the inside of your eye gets injured. If you begin experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor immediately:
- Vision that is either decreased, blurry or double-vision
- Difficulty turning your eye in more than one different direction
- Seeing flashing lights or “floaters”
- The affected eye begins bulging out of its socket or the eye appearing as though it’s sinking into its socket
- Numbness in either your upper teeth or cheek on the same side of the affected eye, which can be a sign of nerve damage that is related to the eye socket getting fractured
- Your eyelid getting cut or on the inner surface of your eye