contacts-logo Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage Results in Bright Red Blood on the Eye


A subconjunctival hemorrhage results when a very small blood vessel breaks underneath the conjunctiva (clear tissue covering the white part of the eye).  The blood is trapped there until it can be reabsorbed by the tissues of the eye.  Because the blood is under the clear conjunctival tissue it is completely visible and appears bright red.  A subconjunctival hemorrhage can appear as a serious problem but it is usually not serious.  The blood is slowly reabsorbed over theSubconjunctival hemorrhage blood on eye causing bright red eye course of 10-20 days depending on the size and amount of blood trapped.  This condition is not related to pink eye or conjunctivitis.  The condition can occur in only one eye or both eyes simultaneously.

There are Many Possible Causes of a Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

A subconjunctival hemorrhage can be caused by trauma such as rubbing the eye or something hitting the eye.  It can also be the result of eye surgery and in fact, subconjunctival hemorrhages are fairly common during the creation of the corneal flap during LASIK laser eye surgery.  Other causes are strong coughing, sneezing, vomiting, stressful bowel movements or heavy lifting.  Patients with diabetes or hypertension or those taking blood thinning medicine are more likely to have a subconjunctival hemorrhage.  Most patients are not aware of the cause of their subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Does a Subconjunctival Hemorrhage hurt?

There is usually no discomfort or blurred vision or discharge from the eye as a result of a subconjunctival hemorrhage.  The eye simply appears bright red in a certain area of the eye.

Treatment for Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

There is no treatment and no treatment is necessary but some precautions may be needed.  Artificial tears may be used if they make the eye feel more comfortable.  Avoid any heavy exertion and try not to rub the eye for several days.  There is absolutely nothing that will cause the blood to be reabsorbed quickly.  The hemorrhage will slowly clear over several weeks.  This condition is not contagious but will often draw the attention of others.  If a second subconjunctival hemorrhage appears, the patient should be evaluated for underlying causes like diabetes or hypertension, to change medications, or to rule out any blood disorders.