Six-Day Progression of a Black Eye

I have been fascinated by the migration of my black eye (formally known as a periorbital hematoma) from my eyebrow to my cheek. I have also watched as it has changed colour several times. Here, for the record, are moments during that process over six days.

I used ice on it periodically for the first day or two but did nothing to it after that. And, no, I didn’t try to put raw meat on it! It really didn’t hurt very much but it did look quite bad for a while. I expect that all the discolouration will be gone within another few days or a week.

The most changes took place on the second day when it spread down to my cheek and was a pretty turquoise. Day four was when it was at its darkest. Now the yellow is taking over and it is spreading to the side of my face. These pictures were not taken with the same lighting each time, but I think you can see the progression fairly well.

Interestingly, when people see a seventy-year-old woman with a black eye it seems to make them smile, and I’m glad to be able to bring a little joy. The reaction seems to be for people to smile then immediately ask how I’m feeling. My daughter-in-law also suggested that no-one is going to mess with me now that I look like a tough guy!

The only person who has seen it who didn’t smile was a tradesman who came to the house and he didn’t mention it at all. In fact, I don’t think he more than glanced at my bruise. I give him five stars for diplomacy and would certainly hire him again.

I hope none of you ever gets a black eye, but if you do, this is more-or-less what you can expect.


  1. Periorbital hematoma is my phrase of the month, next month, which starts tomorrow. “Back eye” sounds so plebeian somehow now that I know this new description. Truly fascinating to observe the progression! About 8 years ago I fell in a parking lot as I was headed to meet friends at a restaurant. I got up from the ground as quickly as I could hoping to have not been seen. I thought that if I could move, then I must be alright and went on to lunch with my friends. It was January so I had a long-sleeve top on that covered my arms. During lunch my arm began to hurt a bit but I stayed and when appropriate I left and returned to my car and drove home. Arriving home, I told my husband about the fall and rolled up my sleeve to show him where it now hurt. Much to my amazement, my entire arm was black and blue from wrist almost to my shoulder. Wound up with a very minor fracture to my left wrist, no cast required. Gotta watch these hematoma things!
    Take Care, my Friend.

    • Wow. That’s quite an amazing story, Mary Beth. I’m surprised that the docs didn’t put your arm in a cast even for a minor fracture.

      As an aside, though, I wonder why we hope nobody sees us when we fall down. It makes no sense. We should hope everyone sees us and rushes to our aid. I blame those comedians back in the day who made pratfalls into a joke. Anyone who has fallen knows it isn’t funny!

  2. Oh Anne, that looks really bad. Has your vision been affected? Might be a good idea to check with an eye doctor. Hope it will start to fade very soon, and the lovely Anne will be back!

    • My vision seems fine. It seems our orbital bones do a really good job of protecting our eyes. I appreciate your good faith in my looks, but at this point in my life loveliness is definitely in the eye of the beholder.

  3. Pretty fascinating, I’d always heard that day -3 was the best day to photograph people who’re battered to give the full extent of the damage. Your day 4 looks to be the worse visually; I wonder if all hematomas migrate? Most importantly, how are you feeling?

    • I’m feeling ok, thanks Sally. Every day it feels a little easier to move about.

      It’s interesting to me that, because the initial impact was on my eyebrow, gravity drew the blood downward. I don’t remember gravity having the same effect on any other bruise I have had. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the tissue around the eye is softer than, say, on the leg or arm.

  4. Yes gravity does have an impact on bruising. They often migrate downward — especially on the legs.
    That’s one heck of a good one you had going on! Must have hurt like the devil when you fell.

    • Yes, it did hurt like the devil and it took a while to get back on my feet. I was glad lots of people stopped to help. The bruise, though, turned out to be a conversation piece. It was quite impressive.

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