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Subconjunctival Hemorrhage (Broken Blood Vessel in the Eye)


Disease: Subconjunctival Hemorrhage (Broken Blood Vessel in the Eye) Subconjunctival Hemorrhage (Broken Blood Vessel in the Eye)
Category: Eye diseases
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Disease Definition:

In case a tiny blood vessel breaks just underneath the conjunctiva, which is the clear surface of the eye, a subconjunctival hemorrhage occurs. Usually, until the person looks in the mirror and finds the white part of their eye bright red, they won't realize that they have a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

The blood becomes trapped under the transparent surface because the conjunctiva can't absorb the blood quickly. A subconjunctival hemorrhage is usually harmless and goes away on its own within 10 to 14 days, despite the fact that it may look painful and frightening.

A strong sneeze or cough that causes a blood vessel to break may be the cause of subconjunctival hemorrhage, but this condition usually occurs without any injury to the eye. Moreover, it usually doesn't need a specific treatment.

Work Group:

Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes


The presence of a bright red patch on the white (sclera) of the eye is the most obvious sign of a subconjunctival hemorrhage. This condition won't cause any change in the vision, discharge from the eye or pain, despite its bloody appearance. A scratchy feeling on the surface of the eye may be the only discomfort of this condition.

In order to make sure that the problem isn't more serious than a subconjunctival hemorrhage, the patient should contact a doctor as soon as a bright red patch appears on their eye. They should also contact a doctor in case they have subconjunctival hemorrhage or other bleeding that recurs.


It's still not known what causes most of these subconjunctival hemorrhages. However, vomiting, powerful sneezing, heavy lifting and violent coughing may be enough to rupture a small blood vessel in the eye.

People who are more likely to develop this condition are newborns who are subjected to pressure changes during delivery, as well as people with diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure). The risk of this condition may also increase if someone uses certain blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin and aspirin. Additionally, if a person is taking any herbal supplements they should tell the doctor about them because some of them, such as ginkgo, may increase the risk of developing subconjunctival hemorrhage.



A subconjunctival hemorrhage causes health complications only in some very rare cases.


Within 10 to 14 days, the blood in the eye will be absorbed. Until then, to soothe the scratchy feeling in the eye, the patient can use eyedrops, such as artificial tears. Other than this, any other treatments won’t be necessary. 


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