If your children are athletic or adventurous, they may come home with a black eye at one point. Here are three things parents need to know about these injuries.

What are the signs of black eyes?

If your child suffers this injury, you'll notice that they have bruising around one or both of their eyes. This bruising will be red at first and will get darker over time, like bruises on other parts of the body. The area will also be swollen, and in cases of severe swelling, they may not be able to open their eye. Of course, this is quite painful for your child.

Are black eyes serious?

Fortunately, most black eyes aren't serious, as the Mayo Clinic explains. While these injuries look scary, they're usually just a bruise that will go away with time. However, black eyes can also be a sign that a serious injury has occurred.

If you see blood in your child's eyes—either in the white parts or the colored parts—they need medical attention right away. This can be a sign of hyphema, an accumulation of blood within the eye that can cause permanent vision damage.

Vision problems are another warning sign that a black eye is more serious than it seems. If your child has blurred vision or double vision, the structures within their eyes could have been damaged by the blow that caused the bruising. If you're worried about your child's black eyes, take them to an optometrist to rule out any serious injuries.

How are black eyes treated?

In the case of mild black eyes, a cold compress can provide relief for the pain and swelling. The cold compress should only be used for about 15 minutes at a time to avoid damaging the skin. This can be done for the first day or two, and after that, heat packs can be used to help promote the healing process. It can take a couple of weeks for a bruise to go away, so be patient when dealing with a black eye.

In those rare cases when a black eye is a sign of something more serious, the treatment will vary based on the injury. For example, if your child has hyphema, they may need to wear an eye patch or even have the bleeding surgically resolved. Their optometrist will let you know which treatments are necessary based on the injuries.

If your child comes home with a black eye, take them to an optometrist to make sure it's nothing serious.