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Subconjunctival Hemorrhage (cont.)

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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. The come 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:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Straining/vomiting or a Valsalva maneuver, 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
  • The use of anticoagulant medication such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) or other blood thinners

Subconjunctival hemorrhage can also be non-spontaneous and result from hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, a severe eye infection, trauma to the head or eye, or after eye or eyelid surgery.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/12/2017

Source: MedicineNet.com
https://www.medicinenet.com/subconjunctival_hemorrhage/article.htm

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