Get Rid of Black Eyes with These 10 Home Remedies

man with black eyes

Black eyes can throw an unwelcome twist to any upcoming plans. Here are 12 different home remedies to get rid of them quickly!

What is a Black Eye?

A black eye, often known as a “shiner” is a periorbital hematoma or in short, a bruise on the area around the eye. What is a bruise exactly? Bruises appear on the body when tiny blood vessels (capillaries) break beneath the surface of the skin; blood gets trapped and a bruise forms.

The delicate skin around the eye is tender and becomes bruised easily. Depending on the severity of the black eye, the bruise may be noticeable right away or may not appear for a few days.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of a black eye might differ for everyone. While some people experience pain and swelling that worsens over time, others notice discoloration and a bruised eye immediately. A black eye is often sensitive to the touch, and the eye itself may become bothered by elements like light or wind.

A severe black eye becomes difficult to open and vision may even become blurry. Like most bruises, the skin is likely to be red at first and then will get darker, turning purple, yellow, green, or black.

Common Causes

What causes a black eye? Black eyes can happen suddenly and for any number of reasons, but the most common cause includes being struck or hit on or near the eyes or nose. A black eye can occur from an accidental foul ball or an intentional fist fight. Depending on where you are hit, either one or both eyes may become black.

Car accidents, facial surgeries (such as reconstructive or cosmetic), head trauma, or a skull fracture may also cause swelling and discoloration around the eyes.

Malnutrition can also cause the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. Under extreme circumstances, these dark circles can appear unsightly and will even resemble a black eye. If you are malnourished one of first giveaways will be your under eyes. 

There are some key components that will lead to dark circles under your eyes because of malnutrition. The first could be dehydration. You can fight this off by drinking an adequate amount of water each day. Additionally, an iron deficit in your system can lead to dark circles under your eyes. Finding ways to include iron in your diet is as easy as including more green leafy vegetables in your meals. If you are a coffee lover then caffeinated beverages may be something that you need to reconsider. Having too much caffeine throughout your day can lead to overexerting yourself and an interruption in your sleep patterns. This in turn can lead to black circles developing under your eyes. Lastly, eating and then binging and purging your food can cause an imbalance that will lead to dark circles under your eyes. 

When to Get Medical Attention

Fortunately, most black eye problems don’t need medical treatment. If you are worried about your eye, it’s better to be safe than sorry and make a visit to your doctor. Seeking medical care is a “must” if you experience any of the following: blood in your eye, an infection, fever, nausea, vision changes, and pain that won’t decrease.

Black eye complications can make you feel “off” and even forgetful. Symptoms like these are not considered normal and shouldn’t be ignored. Sometimes, an individual will get a black eye without trauma to the eye, and it may indicate a disease or another health condition. Failing to seek medical help could lead to bigger issues.

How a Black Eye is Diagnosed

When you visit your doctor, he or she will ask you about the cause of your black eye and do a simple physical exam to make a proper diagnosis. By checking your vision and how well your eye tracks motion, your doctor can determine the severity of your swelling and bruise.

Your doctor may also examine your pupil with a light to make sure it dilates as usual. He or she may also look in your eye to make sure you there are no additional problems. Since head or face fractures can cause black eyes, your doctor may order further tests like an X-ray.

If your doctor suspects complications or a severe injury in your eye, he or she may refer you to an ophthalmologist.

Top Home Remedy Treatments

One of your first questions will probably be “how long does a black eye last?” As you learn how to heal a black eye, keep in mind that it will likely be about a 1-2-week process. Although you may not like the idea of walking around with a bruised and swollen black eye for that length of time, home remedies can help with treatment and reduce some symptoms. Patience and proper care is the only way to get rid of a blackeye.

In some cases, home black eye remedies may even speed up the healing process. Be consistent with your black eye treatment and monitor your symptoms. In general, your swelling should go down after a few days, and it’s natural to see the bruising change colors. If you are uncomfortable with your appearance or if your eye is sensitive to light, cover your black eye with sunglasses.

1. Ice Pack/Cold Compress

Putting an ice pack or cold compress on your eye as soon as it becomes injured is important. Homemade ice packs are easy to make and helps to relieve pain and swelling. If your ice trays are empty, you can use a bag of frozen vegetables. Keep your ice wrapped up in a clean towel and avoid keeping ice on your eye for more than 20 minutes.

Frequent icing is helpful, but take breaks in between. On the day of the injury, consider icing for about 15 minutes every hour.

2. Warm Compress

A warm compress for your eye can help increase the blood flow around your injury and speed up the healing process. Heat is best a few days after your black eye. Saturate a clean washcloth or small towel with warm water and press the cloth gently over your eye. Wait until the cloth is no longer warm.

Be careful to make sure the temperature is not too hot, and the pressure is not too heavy. Hot packs or microwaving a wet cloth is not recommended as it could cause a skin burn. You may use this remedy throughout the day.

3. Chilled Tea Bags

If you have black tea bags handy, chilling them can offer relief for painful bruising and swelling. After you brew a pot of tea, you can put the used tea bags in the refrigerator. Once they are cooled, place the chilled tea bags on your black eye for about 15 minutes throughout the day.

The tannins in the tea are believed to help heal the eye quickly, and the cooler temp can help reduce swelling and offer pain relief.

4. Raw Potato Remedy

May sound strange, but raw potatoes may have the same soothing effect as a cold compress or chilled tea bags. Simply cut a potato into thin slices and place the slices in the refrigerator. Once they are cooled, place the slices over your black eye for about 20 to 30 minutes. It’s a smart idea to make sure that your potato is clean and in good condition before slicing.

5. Pineapple and Papaya

Wonder how pineapple and papaya can heal a black eye? Not only are these fruits delicious, but they are rich in antioxidants and can boost the healing process. You can drink pineapple and papaya juice, eat the fruit, or apply the fleshy pulp of the fruit to the bruised area.

6. Elevate Your Head

A black eye can be quite painful and may even result in a headache. It’s best to lie down and relax if possible. By propping your head up with an extra pillow, you’re less likely to have advanced swelling.

Ideally, you should sleep on your back when sleeping with your head elevated. If you are a side sleeper, try to sleep on the opposite side of your injury to relieve pressure.

7. Comfrey Roots and Cucumber Slices

Comfrey is a herb and has various medicinal purposes. You can boil the root in water for several minutes and let it steep like tea. Use a clean cloth, dip it into the warm (not too hot) solution and use it as a warm compress. You can also purchase comfrey root solutions, but it’s important to follow directions closely.

Cooled cucumber slices are an inexpensive and convenient alternative to a cold compress. Simply place over eyes to feel relief.

8. Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is a natural astringent and can be found in most stores. You can either soak a cotton ball in witch hazel or purchase witch hazel pads. If you have chamomile essential oil on hand, you can add a few drops to your witch hazel solution and let the cotton or pads rest on your eye for about ten minutes.

9. Arnica

Arnica is an herb and derives from the sunflower family and is available as an oil, a topical cream, and other forms. By gently massaging the bruised area with a product containing arnica, you can help reduce the swelling.

10. Cayenne Pepper and Vaseline or Calendula

Making a homemade salve with cayenne pepper and Vaseline can help with the swelling around your eye. Start by melting about five tablespoons of petroleum jelly with one tablespoon of cayenne pepper. Let the salve cool and apply it to the skin. Be careful when handling hot jelly and keep it out of your eye.

Calendula (marigold) petals can be steeped into a tea, and the solution can be applied to the skin. It can be used as a warm compress or similar to chilled tea bags.

Medical Treatment Options

It’s rare that you will need to seek medical treatment for your black eye. If your doctor notices any additional eye diseases or complications, you may need to have surgery or use medications like eye drops. In most cases, your doctor will recommend home remedies or an OTC pain reliever.

Black Eye Prevention

Incidents that result in black eyes often occur when we least expect them, but there are ways to reduce the likelihood of getting a shiner. Some simple preventatives include wearing safety glasses or sunglasses and protective headgear when participating in sports and other activities.

Wearing a seatbelt can greatly reduce face or eye trauma in the event of an accident. Eliminating tripping hazards from your home, such as extension cords or rugs, in high traffic areas are excellent preventative measures.