Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School


When to Call A Doctor

Most black eyes are no more dangerous than a simple bruise on your arm or leg. There are times, however, when a black eye can be a sign of a more serious problem, such as a fracture of the eye socket or an injury to the inside of the eye. Call your doctor immediately if your black eye is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • Decreased vision, blurry vision or double vision

  • Difficulty turning the eye in any direction (looking up, down, right or left)

  • Flashing lights or "floaters" (spots seen by one eye that travel with your field of view as you move your eyes)

  • "Bulging" of the injured eye out of its socket or an appearance that the eye has "sunken in"

  • Numbness in your cheek or upper teeth on the same side as the injured eye, which can be a sign of nerve damage related to a fracture of the eye socket

  • A cut on your eyelid or on the inside surface of your eye

Page 7 of 9     Next Page:  Black Eye Prognosis
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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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