Subconjunctival Hemorrhage (cont.)
Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS
Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.
Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
In this Article
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage facts
- What is a subconjunctival hemorrhage?
- What causes a subconjunctival hemorrhage?
- What are subconjunctival hemorrhage symptoms and signs?
- How is a subconjunctival hemorrhage diagnosed?
- What are the risk factors for subconjunctival hemorrhage?
- What is the treatment for a subconjunctival hemorrhage?
- What is the prognosis for subconjunctival hemorrhage?
- Is it possible to prevent a subconjunctival hemorrhage?
- Find a local Eye Doctor in your town
What causes a subconjunctival hemorrhage?
The conjunctiva contains nerves and many small blood vessels. These blood vessels are usually barely visible but become larger and more visible if the eye is inflamed. These blood vessels are somewhat fragile and their walls break easily, resulting in a subconjunctival hemorrhage (bleeding under the conjunctiva). A subconjunctival hemorrhage appears as a bright red or dark red patch on the sclera. Most subconjunctival hemorrhages are spontaneous without an obvious cause for the bleeding from normal conjunctival blood vessels. Since most subconjunctival hemorrhages are painless, a person may discover a subconjunctival hemorrhage only by looking in the mirror. Many spontaneous subconjunctival hemorrhages are first noticed by another person seeing a red spot on the white of your eye. Rarely there may be an abnormally large or angulated blood vessel as the source of the hemorrhage.
The following can occasionally result in a spontaneous subconjunctival hemorrhage:
- Increasing the pressure in the veins of the head, as in weight lifting or lying on an inversion table upside-down
- Eye rubbing or inserting contact lenses
- Certain infections of the outside of the eye (conjunctivitis) where a virus or a bacteria weaken the walls of small blood vessels under the conjunctiva
- Medical disorder causing bleeding or inhibiting normal clotting
Subconjunctival hemorrhage can also be non-spontaneous and result from a severe eye infection, trauma to the head or eye, or after eye or eyelid surgery.
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