Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

What is an Subconjunctival Hemorrhage?

A subconjunctival hemorrhage is the result of a breakage of a tiny blood vessel in the conjunctiva of the eye. The conjunctiva is a clear film of tissue that is situated over the white portion of the eye. This condition can occur when there is an injury to the eye, by rubbing the eye or from an infection caused by a virus.

People who take blood-thinning medication or those who have high blood pressure will often have a subconjunctival hemorrhage. Excessive pressure in the eye, from coughing or sneezing, can also cause a blood vessel to break inside the eye.

What are the Symptoms of a Subconjunctival Hemorrhage?

When an individual has a subconjunctival hemorrhage, blood will be noticeable in a small area in the white section of their eye. In some instances, the total white portion of the eye will be filled with blood. Normally there is not any pain associated with this condition, but some people may feel a bit of pressure around their eye and it might feel slightly irritated.

After the first day, the red spot inside the eye will gradually get smaller. Individuals who have a subconjunctival hemorrhage that lasts for up to two weeks should contact a medical professional. Other symptoms that require a visit to a physician include pain in the eye and vision problems.

How is a Subconjunctival Hemorrhage Treated?

Most individuals will not need any treatment for a subconjunctival hemorrhage because it will soon disappear on its own. If the eye is bothersome, artificial tears can be placed into the eye. Individuals should refrain from taking aspirin and those who are prescribed anticoagulant drugs, which hinder blood clot formation, should consult with their physician to find out if they should temporarily stop taking the medication.

In rare cases, an individual may have a weak capillary in their eye that causes repeated bleeding in the same spot. When this occurs, an ophthalmologist can perform a procedure using a laser to shut off the blood vessel.

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Last Reviewed:
October 09, 2016
Last Updated:
August 21, 2017