Subconjunctival hemorrhage

The surface of the white of the eye is called bulbar conjunctiva. This is a thin membrane that covers the sclera which is the white part of the eyeball. A Subconjunctival hemorrhage is the condition that happens when a small blood vessel between the scalera and the bulbar conjunctiva breaks open and blood leaks in and gets trapped under the membrane. The conjunctiva has a lot of tiny blood vessels. The trapped blood makes it look like there is a serious eyeball injury. However this condition is harmless. It is also called bloody eye or red eye.

Subconjunctival hemorrhage can happen totally without injury to the eyball. You do not have to get hit or poked in the eye for a hemorrhage to occur. It is unsettling to see the white part of your eye with blood in it for no apparent reason. The appearance of your eye may look dreadful. Sometimes a subconjunctival hemorrhage can simply happen because of a violent cough or sneeze. Vomiting can also cause it as well as alcohol intoxication. It can also happen suddenly for no apparent reason to people who have high blood pressure or those who take blood thinners like warfarin and aspirin. Lifting heavy objects may also cause a subconjunctival hemorrhage. It is also common to see newborn infants with a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Most people are not even aware that they have such a hemorrhage until someone else points it out to them or if they notice it when they look in a mirror. This is a totally painless condition. The hemorrhage does not affect the eyesight at all. There is no discharge from the eye associated with a hemorrhage of this type either. A subconjunctival hemorrhage is not associated with a retinal hemorrhage at all. These are two totally different kinds of hemorrhages.

Certain people are more susceptible to a subconjunctival hemorrhage than others. People who have diabetes or who have high blood pressure are usually more at prone to have them occur. Some herbal supplements people take can also increase the risk for such a hemorrhage in the eyes. Ginseng, ginkgo, garlic, St. John’s Wort and Cayenne are all herbal supplements that can thin the blood to the point of causing a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

It can take up to two weeks for the blood to be absorbed back into the eyeball and clear up out of the eye. No treatment for this condition is necessary. However certain doctors recommend that you take ibuprofen to help reduce the inflammation. As the tiny blood vessel heals, the white part of your eye may begin to look bruised and become a little greenish or yellowish looking. You do not really need to see a doctor for a subconjunctival hemorrhage. However, if you are experiencing either pain or any type of discharge in the affected eye, you should consult with your doctor. If you are on blood thinners or you are taking any of the herbs mentioned above, be sure to let your doctor know. You should also go see the doctor if you think your eye is becoming infected.

Most doctors do not recommend using any type of eye drops like Visine or others to get the red out. Eye drops can actually even make the condition worse. This is because they contain substances that constrict the blood vessels which can slow down your body’s natural healing process. In the future you can try to prevent conjunctival hemorrhages from happening by improving your circulatory system. Smoking may also exasperate the condition. Regular exercise can help improve circulation. Reducing the amount of animal fat that you eat will also help. You can also boost your circulation by eating more nutritious foods like oranges, watermelons, garlic, pumpkin seeds and nuts and other fresh fruits and vegetables.

Last updated on Jan 1st, 2010 and filed under Vision Care. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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