What to do if you have a black eye

A black eye is not usually serious and you can usually look after it at home if there are no signs of a severe injury (see below).

After a few days, the swelling around your eye will start to go down and the bruise will turn brownish-yellow before eventually fading.

Like any other bruise, a black eye will usually take about a week or two to heal completely.


You can normally help reduce the symptoms of a black eye.

Gently apply an ice pack to the skin around your eyeas soon as possible after the injury. You can use a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel.

The cold will numb the pain and relieve the swelling. During the first day, you should apply the ice pack to your eye for 15-20 minutes an hour every hour.

Painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen , can be used to help relieve pain. Avoid using aspirin (unless your doctor advises you to take it) because it can makebleeding worse. Children under 16 should never be given aspirin.

See your GP ifthe pain or swelling is severe or doesn't go away, or the affected area is warm, red or leaking pus (thesemay be signs of infection).

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018