Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Periorbital Hematoma

As of Saturday morning, I have been the proud owner of my very own periorbital hematoma, or 'black eye'. The circumstances surrounding this black eye are embarrassing and irrelevant. It was an unfortunate accident that could have happened to anyone*. Long story short, I boinked my head on the edge of a bathroom mirror. What I am interested in is why such an innocuous event that maybe, MAYBE would have left a bruise anywhere else on my person has bloomed into something that looks like I was curb-stomped by Lady Gaga in these.

Wikipedia says that a black eye is bruising around the eye due to an injury to the face and then name is due to the color of the bruising. WOWEE!! It's Wikipedia articles like this that keep High School teachers from allowing kids to cite 'Wikipedia' in their term paper bibliographies. The article goes on to say that the reason a black eye looks so horrifying is two-fold. One, because your eyes are so fatty (not mine because I work them out 5x a week) and two, because of GD gravity. Gravity pulls blood down into your eyelid allowing it to accumulate. When this blood is reabsorbed, you get the beautiful black+blue. Does this mean that astronauts cannot get black eyes? I've never seen one with a black eye, but maybe that's because they are so disciplined/can't drink on the spacecraft.

Wikipedia also claims that black eyes go away in about a week. Amongst treatments for black eyes, Wikipedia had this to say about pressing raw animal flesh into your eyeball. Here is the exact quote:

"Putting a raw steak on a black eye (an old wives' tale) has long been known to have medicinal value. Putting potentially bacteria-laden meat on a mucous membrane or an open skin injury is fully advised."

Hmm...kind of counter-intuitive, with all the diseases in raw meat these days and that your eye is pretty much a direct line to central nervous system, but I'm sure Wikipedia did their research.  As it turns out, the linked source for this information on Wikipedia has this to say:

"Do not put a steak or a piece of raw meat on a black eye. No scientific evidence supports this treatment. Putting potentially bacteria-laden meat on a mucous membrane or an open skin injury can be dangerous."

This is why I have health insurance and don't get medical advice from community-maintained encyclopedias. Thanks Wikipedia, for nearly giving me Eye-Coli. ;)

*anyone half-drunk at 5am looking for a bathroom in a dark apartment


  1. checked on this for you, md, and a thorough google search yielded an abstract that indicated that the meat on the eye trick is effective only on canoe-induced black eyes. for mirror-induced cases, there is some interesting research (promising, but not yet peer-reviewed)indicating that the application of lukewarm mulligatawny soup is useful both for moderate alleviation of swelling and rapid reduction of discoloration, although this may be accompanied by the undesirable side-effect of severe corneal irritation and resulting production of tears that taste like curried shit.

  2. I wish you had taken this pic in the upstairs bathroom.