“You should see the other guy”

I’ve got one right now and in an effort to save any amount of dignity I have left, that was my response to my co-workers when they asked what happened to me over the weekend.

A black eye is caused when blood and other nasty ass bodily fluids gather around your eye as a result of some kind of physical trauma. Examples of this would include getting punched or elbowed somewhere near the eye (see hockey or boxing), walking into some inanimate stationary object, or (like me), taking a face plant while carry some groceries up the stairs. Some surgical procedures such as a nose job or a facelift might also leave one with a noticeable shiner.

Note: Many people equate black eyes as the result of either some kind of spousal or child abuse. If that is indeed the cause, call your local authorities and have those bastards arrested.

A black eye usually involves a couple of stages. At first, it might seem puffy and sensitive to touch. Your eye itself might be bloodshot or red. Over the next day or so the skin surrounding your eye will start turning into colors not normally found in nature. Those include varying shades of purple, yellow, green and black. It will also start to noticeably swell and you may experience some blurred vision. In really severe cases the entire eye might be covered for a few days.

Usually a black eye isn’t all that serious and left to its own devices will heal itself within a week or so. Until then, be prepared to answer questions from friends, family and complete strangers regarding the circumstances on how you acquired your shiner. However, if you start having symptoms such as double vision, blood in your eyeball, nausea or dizziness and gathering and leaking of pus from the injury you should call your physician.

There are some home remedies available to you to help your injured eye heal a bit quicker. Some of them are myth’s and some of them are genuine. Lets start with the myths first.

Myth Number 1

As a dyed in the wool carnivore, I’m a big fan of steak. Back when I was a kid there was a myth that placing a raw slab of beef over your face in order to help draw the fluids closer to the skin and that in turn would speed up the healing process. People, that’s a waste of a perfectly good slab of meat. Think about it, who would want steak juice dripping in their eye rather than leaking out from a perfectly cooked medium rare filet mignon? This advice also applies to the vegan and vegetarian communities as well.

Myth Number 2

I’ve also heard that some people claim that rubbing Preparation H around the affected area will help reduce the swelling. Folks, I gotta tell ya, the “H” in the prep itself stands for hemorrhoids and you know where those form. I’d be a bit reluctant to spread that stuff on my face and leave it to do its job where it was intended.

Myth Number 3

Another one that made the rounds was to rub some kind of hot pepper or cayenne sauce in order to numb the area and reduce the pain. Do not fuckin’ do this. Chances are some will wind up in your eye itself and only make the situation worse, much worse.

The one tried and true method of returning your face back to its former good looking self is to use ice or another type of cold compress. If you can, do this for about fifteen minutes at a time every hour or so. This will help reduce the swelling and ease the pain. You should also try and elevate your head while sleeping. This will reduce the amount of blood going to your brain housing unit and hence the amount of discoloring in and around your eye socket.

Depending on the severity of your badge of honor, you should return to normal within a week to ten days.

That’s all I got folks. If you have any other cures or suggestions feel free to send them to me and I’ll gladly add them to this post.

Note: Some readers have been kind enough to point out that the term "black eye" is not just physical in nature. It might refer to an incident regarding your reputation or your past. For instance, if you've declared bankruptcy or committed some kind of crime, it might be interpreted as a "black eye" when applying for a home loan or looking for a job.

Those types of black eyes usually take much longer to go away.

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