Allergic Reaction: It Looks Like I Have a Black Eye

Allergies can darken the skin under your eye, making it appear as though you have a black eye. Although the condition is unsightly, it usually is not a symptom of a serious medical problem. Taking allergy medication and using home remedies can be helpful in decreasing discoloration under the eyes.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


Congestion in the nose due to allergies causes a decrease in blood flow to the area. When this occurs, the veins that drain from the eyes to the nose darken due to the decreased blood flow, reports the Hospital for Sick Children. The problem can appear worse in the morning because spending hours on your back causes fluid to accumulate under your eyes.


Allergic rhinitis, commonly called hay fever, can cause skin discoloration under the eyes. Allergic rhinitis symptoms occur when your body reacts to an airborne allergen, such as pet dander, pollen, mold or dust mites. When an allergen enters your body, it tries to destroy the allergen by producing antibodies. If you have allergies, too many antibodies are produced, resulting in nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy skin, post nasal drip, sneezing and watery and itchy eyes. Allergic rhinitis can occur during the spring and fall when outdoor allergens are more prevalent, or can happen indoor year-round if you also are allergic to indoor allergens such as mold and dust mites.


Antihistamines can be helpful in reliving itching, sneezing and runny nose, the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology reports, but might not be as effective in reducing nasal stuffiness. Antihistamines are available in over-the-counter and prescription forms. Your doctor might recommend that you take an anti-leukotriene pill to control your allergies. The medication inhibits the release of an inflammatory substance that can cause symptoms.

Nasal sprays containing corticosteroids are effective in reducing allergy symptoms and relieving inflamed nasal passages, and sprays containing cromolyn sodium reduce swelling of nasal passages and runny nose. While decongestants are helpful as a short-term remedy, they can trigger a rebound effect that actually causes stuffiness if you use them for too long. If your allergies are severe, your doctor might recommend that you undergo allergy shot treatments to decrease allergen sensitivity.

Home Remedies and Prevention

Elevating your head while you sleep can help prevent fluid accumulation under your eyes. Applying cold compresses to your eyes can reduce the size of blood vessels and decrease discoloration. Use refrigerated cucumber slices or tea bags as tiny ice packs for your eyes. Avoiding allergy triggers also can help reduce symptoms. Use an air conditioner or air filter indoors to reduce the amount of airborne allergens. A dehumidifier can be helpful in reducing excess moisture in your home that can cause mold. Don’t hang your clothes out to dry and change your clothes when you return indoors to reduce contact with pollen.