A black eye is a result of a bruise of the lids. The proper term for this is ecchymosis. It is usually caused by getting hit in that region with a blunt object. The eye itself is actually well protected by bones around the eye, so in most cases the object is large enough so that the eye is not hit.
This is one of those cases in which the situation usually looks worse than it really is. It is best not to assume this is the case, however. If someone suffers a blow to the eye or the area around it, it is best to have it checked out professionally. If the eye itself were hit, the consequences could be disastrous. The eye could rupture. Structures within the eye could be torn, which could result in retinal detachment or glaucoma. If you see blood in the eye (behind the cornea), you need to be seen immediately to avoid permanent damage to the eye and your vision. Even without seeing blood in the eye, you should have the eye checked within 48 hours to make sure nothing more serious is happening. Internal injuries of the eye often do not cause pain or discomfort. Once vision is lost, however, it may be very difficult or impossible to restore it.
So when it comes to black eyes, the chances of a good outcome are indeed very good, but get it checked no matter what. An ounce of prevention may be worth more than any cure!
Author: Dr. Mark Maybury
Eclipse Vision Source
6750 S. Cornerstar Way, Aurora CO