Eye Contusion

ExitCare ImageBruising around the eye is known as an eye contusion. Eye contusions may also be referred to as a "shiner" or "black eye." Eye contusions are typically caused by a direct hit (blunt trauma) to the face, eye, or forehead. They are common in many contact sports. The injury usually resolves without treatment in 3 to 10 days.


  • Pain around the eye.

  • Swelling around the eye.

  • Purplish, "black and blue," discoloration around the eye, with gradual fading.

  • Tenderness over the cheekbone.

  • Eye discomfort when exposed to bright lights (photophobia).

  • Mild light-headedness, if a concussion occurs.


  • Direct person-to-person contact.

  • Contact with balls or other sports equipment.

  • Assault.

  • Contact with floors and walls.


  • Contact or collision sports.

  • Not wearing protective gear.

  • Individuals with only one eye.

  • Partial blindness.


  • Correct visual disturbances.

  • Wear protective eye gear.

  • Wear protective headgear.


Treatment first involves ice and medicine to reduce pain and inflammation. It is important to watch for symptoms of a more serious injury, such as a concussion. If you develop severe pain, double vision, blurry vision, or blood in the space in front of your pupil, you should immediately seek medical attention. Protective equipment should always be worn, especially when returning to sports. Do not resume playing if vision has not returned to normal.