When to watch for eye bleeding


Subconjunctival hemorrhage is another term for bleeding from the eye . Bleeding inside the eye can cause a small spot of redness or a large patch of red blood. The bleeding appears as a bright red blood spot on the white of the eye.

While it can be scary to wake up from what appears to be a bleeding eye, subconjunctival hemorrhage is usually harmless as visible blood emerges from a simple ruptured blood vessel.

Symptoms of bleeding from the eyes.

The white part of your eye, known as the sclera, is covered with a thin, transparent tissue called the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva also lines the inside of the eyelid, which contains a network of small, thin blood vessels. These small blood vessels are quite fragile and can easily burst or break. When they break, blood flows and is deposited between the conjunctiva and the sclera .

If the leak is small, part of the eye may appear slightly red . However, if the leak is large enough, the entire whites of the eye may appear completely blood red, and in some cases, even bulge outward. You may have a subconjunctival hemorrhage if you notice a pool of bright red blood inside your eye.

The condition usually does not cause pain or vision changes, but it sometimes causes mild itchy eyes. Sometimes when blinking, there may be a scratching sensation.


Illustration by Nushi Ashjai, Get Information on Medicines

Eye bleeding is usually caused by an injury to the eye. Less common but serious causes of bleeding in the eye include cancer, malformations of the blood vessels of the eye, and irritation and inflammation of the iris (the colored part of the eye).

Small subconjunctival hemorrhages can result from violent sneezing or coughing. High blood pressure and the intake of certain medications that alter blood clotting mechanisms are other risk factors for subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Subconjunctival hemorrhage or eye bleeding can be caused by:

  • Injury
  • Cough
  • Violent sneezing
  • Threw up
  • Weightlifting
  • Strong rubbing of the eye with the hands.
  • Constipation
  • Various eye infections

Sometimes subconjunctival hemorrhage can be a sign of diabetes , hypertension, bleeding or blood disorders, leukemia , and sickle cell anemia .

If you have subconjunctival hemorrhage more than twice a year, you will need to have a complete physical exam to make sure you do not have an underlying medical condition.


If you are concerned about bleeding in the eye, schedule an eye exam. Your optometrist will carefully review your medical history to rule out possible causes of bleeding.

Your eyes will be examined to make sure there is no damage to the eye or other damage to other structures in the eye. Eye pressure will be measured, and your eyes may be widened so the doctor can look inward to make sure there are no injuries or bleeding inside the eye.

It is important that your ophthalmologist or ophthalmologist examine the bleeding to determine the cause and to rule out other possible health problems.

Watch out

Try to stay calm if you suddenly notice blood in your eye . Your body will slowly absorb the visible blood in the eye due to a subconjunctival hemorrhage. Most cases resolve in about seven days without treatment .

However, a large subconjunctival hemorrhage can take up to two to three weeks. The redness may turn orange, then pink, and then white again. Your eye will not be stained with blood. Artificial tears can be used to reduce the itchy sensation.

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While blood in the eye can be worrisome, it is generally not a cause for concern, especially if there is no pain or visual changes. Many people present with a subconjunctival hemorrhage with no recollection of trauma, circumstances, or systemic medical problems. In many cases, the rupture of the blood vessels is caused by a blow to the eye in the middle of the night while sleeping. However, having a subconjunctival hemorrhage more than twice a year can be cause for concern and should have a complete medical examination.

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