Subconjunctival hemorrhage is a common, benign and self-limiting condition that occurs when an external eye capillary  breaks and blood collects under the conjunctiva – the transparent layer of tissue that covers the the white of the eye.

As the conjunctiva only covers the white parts of the eye, the cornea is unaffected. Hence, a subconjunctival hemorrhage does not affect the vision.

What causes a subconjunctival hemorrhage?

Causes can include:

  • Trauma to the eye
  • Rigorous/forceful eye rubbing
  • High blood pressure
  • Violent coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Straining when lifting up heavy objects
  • Chronic constipation
  • Taking blood thinning medications
  • Blood clotting disorders

Signs and Symptoms

The most common sign of a subconjunctival hemorrhage is a blood-like red patch on the eye. The patch could be as small as a blot or it can spread to cover even the entire white of the eye. A subconjunctival hemorrhage doesn’t cause any pain, blurring of vision or discharge Some might experience mild irritation or scratchiness is the affected eye.

Treatment

Subconjunctival hemorrhage is a self-limiting condition. Depending on how large the hemorrhage is, with time, the redness will subside within a few days or weeks. If the eye is feeling irritated, artificial tears can be used for symptomatic relief.

If the subconjunctival hemorrhage keeps recurring, consider visiting a doctor to investigate the underlying cause.

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