A black eye or "shiner" generally occurs when the skin around the eye has been injured. The injury causes bleeding underneath the skin, making the external skin appear bruised. To avoid stares and unwanted questions, people will try a host of treatments with the hope of reducing the appearance of a black eye. The fastest way to get rid of a black eye is to treat the injury as quickly as possible; however, it may take a week or more for the bruising to completely disappear.
To reduce the swelling associated with a black eye, apply a cold compress to the area as soon as possible. The Mayo Clinic stresses that cold compresses such as cold packs or ice should not be pressed against the eye itself. An emergency cold pack can be made by placing ice in a cloth or plastic bag. Cold packs should be continued for 24 to 48 hours after the injury has occurred.
Along with a cold compress, a pain reliever that contains an anti-inflammatory will help reduce major swelling. According to Health Guidance, this type of pain reliever will help "prevent your eye from ballooning up quite as badly, and will also keep your pain levels down." After 48 hours, switch from cold to warm compresses. Applying warmth aids blood flow to the bruised area. In addition to compresses, Health Guidance recommends plenty of sleep, as sleep helps the body repair wounds.
One of the biggest myths about quickly getting rid of a black eye is applying a steak to your shiner. Save that T-bone for your next barbecue because there is no scientific evidence that the application of a steak or raw meat product will make your black eye go away. Dr. Mehmet Oz says that while using a steak may seem to offer a cold and soothing remedy, it has "never been used successfully" and you put your eye at risk due to possible contamination of the raw meat. However, a bag of frozen peas applied to a black eye can help with recovery, as this works the same as a cold compress.
While Dr. Oz does not recommend a raw steak, he does offer a couple of home remedies that may provide help for your black eye. One of his first suggestions is brewing tea bags, cooling them down and using the bags as a cold compress. The natural anti-oxidants found in black tea works as an anti-inflammatory, thus reducing swelling. Next, Dr. Oz says to increase your intake of foods rich in vitamin K, like alfalfa sprouts, which can speed the healing time of bruises.
In some instances, people who have had trauma to the eye area should seek professional medical treatment. Eye trauma can lead to permanent damage, especially if left untreated. The Mayo Clinic advises to look for blood "within the white and colored parts of the eye." If there is blood in either location, you should see a doctor or eye specialist. You should also seek urgent care if you experience double or blurred vision, severe pain or bleeding from the eye or nose.