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A shiner is bruising and swelling around your eye, normally brought on by a blow to the location, such as a punch or fall. It need to improve within 2 to 3 weeks.

How to reduce a shiner yourself


  • carefully hold an ice bag (or a bag of frozen peas covered in a fabric) to the location around your eye for about 10 to 20 minutes at a time, and repeat routinely throughout the very first 1 to 2 days
  • take pain relievers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for any discomfort
  • after the very first 2 days, carefully use a warm (not hot) heat pack or fabric to the location around your eye routinely throughout the day


  • do not take aspirin, unless recommended by a medical professional, as this can make the bruising even worse
  • do not press or rub the location around your eye
  • do not put ice straight on your skin

Urgent recommendations: Ask for an immediate GP visit or call emergency situation hotline if:

  • you have extreme discomfort or swelling
  • you have a headache that does not disappear, or blurred vision
  • the location around your eye is warm or dripping pus
  • your temperature level is really high, or you feel hot and shivery
  • you’re taking blood-thinning medication (such as warfarin)
  • you have a bleeding condition (such as haemophilia)

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  • the shiner does not disappear within 3 weeks

Urgent recommendations: Go to A&E if:

  • there’s blood noticeable in your eye
  • you have an irregularly shaped student (the black dot at the centre of the eye)
  • you had a blow to the head and have bruising around both eyes
  • you have issues with your vision, such as double vision, loss of vision, seeing flashing light, halos or shadows, or discomfort when taking a look at an intense light
  • you can stagnate your eye