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What causes bruising around the eyes after head injury?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 10196 Questions
I was recently in a car accident about 4 days ago and hit my head pretty hard. My forehead was somewhat mushy feeling but I did not have severe pain. I woke up today and have mild / moderate bruising in the corners of my eyes. Is this serious or will it go away on its own?
Posted Sun, 26 Jan 2014 in Head Injuries
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 36 minutes later
Brief Answer: may need imaging if not done before Detailed Answer: HI, thanks for using healthcare magic Bruising or black discolouration around the eyes after head injury is sometimes called raccoon eyes. This can occurs in a type of skull fracture called basilar skull fracture which is fracture to the base (bottom aspect) of the skull. This type of fracture is rare, actually only occurs in 4% or less of persons with head injury. If you had imaging after your accident, it would have been able to identify any fractures or any other evidence of injury. Normally after a head injury there are criteria to determine if a person needs a CT scan. These are called the new orleans criteria , another is the canadian ct head rule. In both of these, any evidence of either skull injury or injury above the clavicle requires a CT scan. Though the presence of the bruising may not indicate any serious injury, it would be best to have imaging if you did not have any previously. If you did and injury was ruled out then you can observe and the bruising will resolve. I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
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Follow-up: What causes bruising around the eyes after head injury? 8 minutes later
I did not have imaging done before. Will this heal on it's own? Or is it life threatening?
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 10 minutes later
Brief Answer: if significant changes then imaging needed Detailed Answer: HI If you are noting significant dark discolouration around the eyes, with no previous history of an imaging then you need to have imaging done to rule out injury.In this case, you need to visit your doctor for an evaluation. In this case it is best to have imaging done. If the discolouration that you are seeing is minimal or hardly noticeable then you do not need any imaging unless you are experiencing other symptoms of head injury such as memory loss, loss of consciousness at the time of the accident, vomiting, seizures. If none of these symptoms are present and the bruising is only minimal then you can observe it , it will resolve on its own.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes bruising around the eyes after head injury? 36 minutes later
The bruising is very slight. Very mild purple reddish and only in the very corner or my eyes. No nausea or dizziness. Mild pain on one side that was hit worse. Should I use ice or heat to help?
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 20 minutes later
Brief Answer: ice Detailed Answer: HI You can use ice or a cold compress for 5 to 10 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day. It should help you. Please feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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