We commonly see patients who come in saying that their eyes are bleeding.

The patient is usually referring to the white part of their eye, which has turned bright red. The conjunctiva is the outermost layer of the eye and contains very fine blood vessels.  If one of these blood vessels breaks, then the blood spreads out underneath the conjunctiva. This is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

A subconjunctival hemorrhage doesn't cause any eye pain or affect your vision in any way. Most of the time, a subconjunctival hemorrhage is asymptomatic.  It is only noticed when looking at the mirror or when someone else notices the redness of the eye.  There should not be any discharge or crusting of your lashes.  If any of these symptoms are present, then you may have another eye condition that may need treatment.  

What causes a subconjunctival hemorrhage?  The most common cause is a spontaneous rupture of a blood vessel.  Sometimes vigorous coughing, sneezing, or bearing down can break a blood vessel.  Eye trauma and eye surgery are other causes of subconjunctival hemorrhage.  Aspirin and anticoagulant medication may make patients more susceptible to a subconjunctival hemorrhage but there is usually no need to stop these medications.  

There is no treatment needed for subconjunctival hemorrhage.  Sometimes there may be mild irritation and artificial tears can be used.  The redness usually increases in size in the first 24 hours and then will slowly get smaller and fade in color.  It often takes one to two weeks for the subconjunctival hemorrhage to be absorbed.  The larger the size of the hemorrhage, the longer it takes for it to fade.

Having a subconjunctival hemorrhage may be scary initially but it will get better in a couple of weeks without any treatment. However, redness in the eye can have other causes, and you should call your eye doctor, particularly if you have discharge from the eye.

Article contributed by Dr. Jane Pan

This blog provides general information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician. The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

YOUR EYES.......You only have two of them so treat them well and learn how to keep them safe from harm. Here is a list of five vital ways to prevent injuries to one of your most precious assets, your vision.

  1. Wear Safety Glasses. Failure to wear protective eye wear is one of the main causes of job related injuries to the eye according to OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration). Well-made safety glasses are made from a polycarbonate material which can withstand the impact of a .22 caliber bullet. Safety glasses at work protect you from foreign bodies and chemical exposure to the eye area. Wearing protective eyewear for yard work, weed eating, and cutting wood keeps injury from high velocity foreign bodies to a minimum.
  2. Wear Sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection. Doing so protects the thin skin around the eyes from sunburn, and also helps protect your ocular system. It has long been stated that excessive exposure to sunlight causes cataracts, so using ultraviolet (UV) protection in your sunglasses is vital. Many sunglasses, especially for children, do not contain adequate UV filters. These inferior sunglasses can actually harm your eyes more than not wearing any, since the dark lenses cause the pupil to dilate, thereby letting in more of the harmful rays. Buyer beware: not all sunglasses are created equally.
  3. Make sure children’s glasses are made of polycarbonate material and have UV protection. This ensures a minimum exposure of ultraviolet rays which will pay off when they are older by helping prevent cataracts. The polycarbonate lens material gives maximum protection against breakage.
  4. Don’t obstruct vision with a child’s costume. During Halloween, opt for face paint instead of a mask that could occlude or obstruct vision.  Bulky masks that accompany halloween costumes can be a deterrent to the child seeing out of the mask. During Halloween or costume parties, keep it fun and safe by “seeing and being seen.”
  5. Use the wisdom of preventative maintenance. Get yearly eye examinations where the entire retina is evaluated with a a dilated exam. Routine check ups, sunglasses, vitamins, and smoking cessation will keep those peepers healthy and clear.

Applying these pointers can keep your eyes healthy and safe.

This blog provides general information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician. The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

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