Blunt force trauma to the area around the eye often results in a 'shiner,' otherwise called a black eye. Like all bruises, it is caused by small blood vessels leaking. Due to how thin the skin is around the eye, it does not take much for a black eye to appear. The skin here is also looser than in other areas of the body, allowing for swelling to happen easily. Although usually caused when an object hits the eye, a black eye can also show up when an individual has a sinus infection or undergoes certain surgeries. Once a black eye shows up, there are a few different ways it can be dealt with.
Apply A Cold Compress
When the injury to the eye area is minor and can be treated at home, begin the healing process by applying a cold compress. The reason for this is a cold compress helps constrict the blood vessels. As a bonus, it reduces swelling. Many individuals have probably seen others use a bag of frozen peas or other vegetables. These are actually better than a rigid ice pack, as they can conform to the shape of the face more easily. One thing some may have seen that they do not want to try is using raw meat, as this can greatly increase the odds of infection. For those who do not have frozen vegetables or a cold compress, a spoon chilled in the refrigerator can make a decent substitution. The cold compress should be kept on the eye for ten-minute intervals and the process should be repeated every one to two hours.
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Pain often goes hand-in-hand with getting a black eye. If it is minor, patients can turn to over-the-counter medications, though they should be careful about what they choose. While analgesics are generally acceptable, patients should not take anything that acts as a blood thinner, such as acetylsalicylic acid. This is because blood-thinning medications will actually make the black eye appear worse. Patients who have other health concerns that limit the types of pain medicines safe for them to use should consult with a doctor. In cases where the pain is severe, or changes in vision are experienced, patients should not rely on over-the-counter medicine, but see a doctor right away instead. These symptoms can be signs of a broken bone, increased eye pressure, or damage to the eyeball itself.
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Apply A Warm Compress After A Few Days
Although patients need to stick with cold compresses at first, it is a good idea to apply a warm compress after a few days. At this point, the warmth will help encourage the blood flow to return, which is important for healing. That being said, be sure the compress is warm but not hot. Patients will also want to stick to plain water because the skin around the eyes is very sensitive. Do not use a hot-pack like the ones found in stores because if it leaks, it can burn the eye. A warm compress for the eye can have many benefits, including relieving pain, increasing moisture, preventing the skin from becoming clogged, and even helping the area relax.
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Massaging The Area
Although patients do not want to do it right away, massaging the area around the black eye in the days that follow can be beneficial. This is because it stimulates the lymphatic system, which is important to healing. Massaging the area can help break up any blood clots that may have formed. Individuals should be sure to not massage the bruise itself, but rather the surrounding skin. If patients would like, they could try using things such as coconut oil or petroleum jelly when during the massage, or certain essential oils, such as lavender. Not only can this make the experience more enjoyable, but these things can have healing benefits of their own due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
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On top of coconut oil, there are some other very natural remedies patients can try to speed the healing of a black eye. Eating pineapple, for example, has been shown to reduce inflammation, which can help the skin around the eye heal faster. It can also be applied to the eye topically to help reduce pain. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which is a potent anti-inflammatory that can reduce the appearance of a black eye. To use this method, mix one part of cayenne powder with five parts petroleum jelly. Be sure to not get the jelly and cayenne mixture in the eye. Leave it on for approximately an hour and then rinse it off with warm water for the best results and fastest healing for a black eye.
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Try Using Bilberry Extract
As discussed, a black eye is what happens when blood vessels break in the tissues around the eye. Because the skin around the eye is loose, fluid can accumulate in it, giving it a puffy, discolored appearance. One way to help reduce the swelling is to try using bilberry extract. The bilberry plant grows in Europe and is a relative of the North American blueberry planet. It is purported to have several health benefits such as aiding blood sugar control and improving night vision. In terms of black eye care, the tannins found in bilberry extract are believed to help reduce inflammation. They also work in concert with vitamin C to improve bilberry extract's healing properties.
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Get Lots Of Vitamin C
To help minimize the effects of trauma and recover from a black eye, it can be helpful to get lots of vitamin C. This vitamin prevents bruising by strengthening blood vessels in the body. Since a black eye is the result of broken capillaries, vitamin C can minimize the amount of blood that gets into the tissues. In addition, vitamin C also improves healing and is anti-inflammatory, helping patients recover from their injuries faster. Vitamin C is readily available in supplement form. However, the best way to get extra doses of this important vitamin is through foods such as citrus fruit. For example, pineapple is high in vitamin C, and it also contains antioxidants that promote healing and the immune system.
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Wear Safety Glasses
Black eyes are usually the result of blunt force trauma to the face. Most of these types of injuries can be prevented with simple precautions. Everyone should wear safety glasses in areas where there is a risk of injury to the face. Individuals who work with heavy machinery should always wear such eye protection. Most construction projects require eye protection for their workers, as there are many situations where loose debris or construction materials can be thrown toward the face. Safety glasses may also be recommended for contact sports such as basketball, where it is common for players to receive a black eye after a collision with another player. Safety glasses not only prevent black eyes but also prevent injuries to the eyes themselves.
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Take Precautions Against Falling
Especially for senior citizens, falls are a common cause of black eyes. When an older person falls suddenly, they may not have the speed or coordination to break their fall with their hands, which can result in trauma to the face and eyes. Families need to take precautions against falling for their loved ones. This may mean increasing the brightness in the home, so hazards can be seen more easily. It can include regularly checking for tripping hazards such as loose cords or empty boxes. The home may need special hardware such as extra handrails to make stairs more accessible. Seniors may also need devices to help with their stability such as canes and walkers.
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Wear A Seatbelt
It is always wise to wear a seatbelt when driving. Wearing a seatbelt protects drivers in many ways, including black eye prevention. When a driver is involved with a collision, their body continues to accelerate forward. Even a low-velocity collision can cause serious injury without a seatbelt. The driver's head is often thrown forward toward the steering wheel, and if the collision is minor and the airbag does not deploy, the driver's face may hit the wheel, resulting in a painful black eye. If the collision is more serious, the force of the airbag may also cause trauma to the face. In any car collision or head trauma, there is the potential for more serious injuries. Patients should see a doctor if black eyes are accompanied by concussion symptoms like dizziness, confusion, or nausea.