Subconjunctival Bleeding

Table of contents:

Subconjunctival Bleeding
Subconjunctival Bleeding

Subconjunctival hemorrhage is the rupture of small blood vessels under the conjunctiva. This condition is characterized by bright red patches on the whites of the eyes. Although the symptoms look serious, subconjunctival bleeding is generally harmless

The conjunctiva is the clear surface that lines the eye and contains many fine tiny blood vessels. A subconjunctival hemorrhage occurs when the small blood vessels under the conjunctiva burst.

subconjunctival hemorrhage, symptoms, causes, how to treat, how to prevent, allodokter
subconjunctival hemorrhage, symptoms, causes, how to treat, how to prevent, allodokter

When these blood vessels burst, blood will fill the area between the conjunctiva and the sclera (the white part of the eye). As a result, the whites of the eyes will look reddish.

Causes of Subconjunctival Bleeding

The cause of subconjunctival hemorrhage is not always known with certainty. However, the blood vessels in this area tend to be more fragile. In some patients, these blood vessels can burst due to activities or conditions that increase pressure in the eye, for example:

  • Vomiting
  • Pushing
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Rubbing eyes too hard
  • Cough or sneeze too strong

In certain cases, subconjunctival hemorrhage can also be caused by the following conditions:

  • Injury to the eye, for example due to eye contact with an object
  • Eye surgery
  • Infections that cause fever, such as influenza and dengue fever
  • Vitamin C deficiency

Risk Factors for Subconjunctival Bleeding

There are several factors that can increase a person's risk of developing subconjunctival hemorrhage, namely:

  • Seniors
  • Suffering from diabetes
  • Suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Suffering from blood clotting disorders
  • Take blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin or warfarin

Symptoms of Subconjunctival Bleeding

The symptom of a subconjunctival hemorrhage is a bright red spot in one or more of the whites of the eye. Generally, patients do not feel any other symptoms. However, there are some patients who also experience minor eye irritation.

When to see a doctor?

Immediately consult a doctor if redness in the eye is accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain, visual disturbances, or discharge from the eye.

Also, consult a doctor if you experience recurrent subconjunctival bleeding.

Diagnosis of Subconjunctival Bleeding

To diagnose, the ophthalmologist will ask the patient's complaints, history of eye injury, history of bleeding or bruising, as well as the patient's overall medical history, including occupation and lifestyle. After that, the doctor will measure the patient's blood pressure and perform a physical examination of the eyes.

In patients who experience repeated subconjunctival bleeding, the doctor may order blood tests to determine whether the patient has a blood clotting disorder.

Treatment of Subconjunctival Bleeding

Subconjunctival hemorrhage does not require special treatment. Generally, this condition will resolve on its own in 7–14 days. If the patient feels irritation, the doctor can give artificial tear drops to relieve it.

If the doctor suspects that the subconjunctival bleeding is caused by hypertension or a blood clotting disorder, the doctor will prescribe medication to treat the cause. The patient may also be referred to an internal medicine specialist for further examination and treatment.

Subconjunctival Bleeding Complications

Subconjunctival hemorrhage generally does not cause complications. However, if the subconjunctival hemorrhage is caused by an eye injury, the doctor will perform an eye exam to ensure that there are no complications from the condition.

Prevention of Subconjunctival Bleeding

Subconjunctival hemorrhage can be prevented in the following ways:

  • Rubbing your eyes slowly when your eyes are itchy
  • Cleaning contact lenses regularly
  • Wear eye protection when exercising or doing activities that pose a risk of eye injury
  • Consult a doctor if you are taking blood thinners