Black Eye

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP
    David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP

    David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP

    Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

What causes a black eye?

The most common cause of a black eye is a blow to the eye, nose, or forehead. Depending on where the blow lands, one or both eyes may be affected.

A blow to the nose often causes both eyes to swell because the swelling from the nasal injury causes fluid to collect in the loose tissues of the eyelids.

Other causes of black eye include:

  • surgical procedures to the face, such as a facelift, jaw surgery, or nose surgery;
  • a certain type of head injury, called a basilar skull fracture, causes both eyes to swell and blacken; this condition is typically described as "raccoon eyes."

Other causes of swelling around the eye include (these conditions do not necessarily make the skin turn black and blue around the eye):

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/1/2015

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