Black Eye: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 3/15/2021

A black eye is a term that refers to bruising of the area around the eyelid an eye. A black eye may be accompanied by other injuries.

Signs and symptoms of a black eye include

  • headache,
  • eye pain, and
  • puffiness or swelling around the eye, which can be mild at first, then increasing later.

The swelling may make it difficult to open the eye. Other associated symptoms and signs include

  • discoloration (like a bruise) around the eye; the skin around the eye may be red at first, then grows darker, progressing to purple, yellow, green, or black.

The vision may be blurred temporarily.

Causes of a black eye

Trauma is by far the main cause of a black eye.

Other black eye symptoms and signs

  • Discoloration (Like a Bruise) Around the Eye
  • Eye Pain
  • Headache
  • Puffiness or Swelling Around the Eye, Which Can Be Mild at First, Then Increasing Later


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.