Maybe you’re in training for the UFC. Maybe you were defending the honor of a woman. Or just took an elbow driving the lane in a pickup game. Whatever the reason, most of us have to deal with a black eye at least once in our lives.
Depending on the size and how hard the shot was that you took, your shiner will probably stick around about a week or so. But there are things you can do to speed the healing and lessen the time you’ll have to wear those sunglasses in the office. (And none of them include applying a raw steak.)
I spoke with Dr. Harvey Moscot of Moscot Eyewear and Eye Care to get some tips for dealing with a bruised peeper. He’s the fourth generation in a family that’s been in the business of eye care since 1915. Back then, they’d deal with a black eye by sticking a leech on your face to suck away the blood. Fortunately, he’s got some less drastic ways of speeding recovery. Here are his tips:
1. Make sure it’s just a bruise and not a serious injury.
Things to watch out for – double vision, loss of sight, inability to move the eye, large swelling around the eye such as a hematoma, blood or clear fluid coming from your nose, blood on the surface of the eye or cuts on the eye itself, and persistent headaches. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, go see a doctor. It may be more serious than just a shiner.
2. Add ice.
Apply a cold compress for the first 24 hours. This helps keep swelling and discoloration down. Takes breaks though. If your eye gets too cold, your body will flood the area with blood to try to warm it up. Which will just increase the bruise.
3. Pick the right pain killer.
Opt for Tylenol over Aspirin. Aspirin is an anticoagulant, meaning the blood won’t clot, and could cause an even bigger bruise.
4. Heat helps too.
48 hours after the blow, start to apply warm cloths. This warms the blood in areas where it has pooled, making it easier for the body to flush it away.
Get plenty of sleep and make sure to prop up several pillows to elevate your head and avoid further swelling.
6. Take your Vitamin C.
It is a common fact that Vitamin C will help the healing process.
7. Take your Vitamin K.
Apply Vitamin K (1%) cream to the bruised area. Studies show this helps bruises fade faster. (You can find some at most pharmacies.)
8. Don’t blow it.
Try not to blow your nose so often. Blowing your nose could increase inflammation and swelling. Plus it hurts.