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Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

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A subconjunctival hemorrhage is caused by bleeding from damaged or broken blood vessels that are found in the conjunctiva of the eye (the white part of the eye). A subconjunctival hemorrhage usually looks more dangerous that it really is.{{more}} It can result from a blow to the eye from a blunt object or it can result from anything that increases the pressure in the blood vessels of the conjunctiva.

The blood vessels of the conjunctiva are very delicate and intense coughing, vomiting, pushing during childbirth, pushing when in the toilet, lifting heavy objects, bending a lot and sneezing can cause damage to these blood vessels. In the area where the blood vessel is affected, one notices a bright red patch. This can be very disturbing. There is usually no pain and vision is hardly affected Of course if you are experiencing pain or a visual disturbance, do not hesitate to see your eye doctor.

How is a subconjunctival hemorrhage treated? Because the blood is usually absorbed in 1-3 weeks the hemorrhage usually does not require treatment. However because they are sometimes caused by trauma to the eye, it is important to have a professional examine the eye to make sure that all structures are intact and functioning normally. Treatment for the hemorrhage usually involves a cold wet compress to the eye or ice packs repeated several times within the first 24 hours. Eye drops can also be used to help the blood absorb. By the 4th day one should begin applying warm compresses to the eye. The warm compresses will hasten the breakdown of the visible blood. So …first cold compresses then later warm compresses.

However hemorrhages can also affect people who bleed a lot such as hemophiliacs, so one should look to see a professional. If you experience the hemorrhages frequently, especially without apparent cause you should also consider seeing your internist.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us.

Send questions to: [email protected]

Tel: 784 456-1210