Optometry: Understanding the Basics of Black Eye
A visit to a doctor of optometry can help ease the mind and symptoms of someone who is suffering from the effects of a black eye. The general cause of this injury is a minor bump or blow to the eye area, which causes blood vessels or capillaries to break and brings a show of blood close to the surface of the skin. This bruising typically goes away completely within several days to a few weeks, depending on severity. If a black eye lasts longer than that or is accompanied by certain other symptoms, a visit to an optometrist may be required.
Signs that a black eye might be problematic
Bleeding beneath the skin, caused by capillaries or tiny blood vessels breaking and blood oozing under the skin, is not uncommon as a result of an impact. When the cause is something else or if certain other symptoms develop, an eye doctor should be seen. These symptoms can include but are not limited to the following:
- Fever, pus or other signs of infection
- Vomiting, bleeding or seizures
- Bruising around both eyes, which could indicate a skull fracture
- A severe headache lasting longer than 48 hours, a potential sign of a concussion
- Double vision, blurring, bright flashes or inability to move the eyeball
Other reasons a black eye can form
A feature similar to a black eye can be caused by sinus or nasal allergies. These black eyes or “shiners” as they are commonly called are not true bruising but are more commonly dark circles due to poor blood circulation or dehydration. Also on occasion, a dental or cosmetic procedure can disturb blood vessels and cause bruising around the eyes. All of these causes are minor and will pass in due time.
Normal stages of a black eye
Bruising initially starts out red and will likely darken and change to purple to blue, then brown or green, and finally fading to yellow before disappearing. This area of discoloration can spread and become larger for a day or so. It may be accompanied by swelling if caused by trauma, even making it difficult to open the eye. Gently icing for 15 minutes a few times a day can help reduce swelling, but the eye doctor should be consulted first.
What a doctor of optometry can do to help
An optometrist can do a thorough exam of the eye and surrounding tissue to rule out any damage. If problems are found, instruction or medication can be given to reduce inflammation and help deal with pain. In the case of infection, an antibiotic oral or drop medication may be prescribed and should be taken as directed. If additional steps are needed, the eye doctor can direct or perform them.
In many cases a black eye is just an annoyance, but staying on the safe side is always a good idea where the eyes are concerned. A visit to an optometry office can help ensure that no more serious damage is overlooked.
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