Understanding the Broken Blood Vessel in the Eye (Subconjunctival Hemorrhage)

Subconjunctival hemorrhage

While a broken blood vessel on your eye can look scary, a subconjunctival hemorrhage is almost always harmless and often heals on its own.

In the video below, Dr. Amanda Rights reviews what you need to know about having a broken blood vessel in your eye (also known as a subconjunctival hemorrhage). 

If you don’t like the video or want more information, continue reading.

What is a subconjunctival hemorrhage?

Before we dive into this condition, it’s important to know the word “hemorrhage” means the escape of blood (i.e. bleeding).

With this in mind, a subconjunctival hemorrhage is a normal condition that occurs when a small blood vessel bursts under the clear lining of your eyeball, known as the conjunctiva. Upon doing so, blood becomes trapped and pools underneath this layer, creating a visible red spot.

Coughing, sneezing, straining, or other similar actions most commonly cause subconjunctival hemorrhages. They can occur spontaneously or due to a mild injury, inflammation, or the use of blood thinning medications.

Related: Pterygium: Understanding This Abnormal Eye Growth

Source: Wikimedia Commons / Iceclanl

Subconjunctival hemorrhage treatment and testing

On average, a subconjunctival hemorrhage typically resolves on its own within a couple weeks. If you are looking to speed up this process, unfortunately, there isn’t really a good way to do so.

However, if you’re having recurring or lingering subconjunctival hemorrhages, further testing is recommended. Why? In rare occurrences, this condition is related to underlying diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or a blood clotting disorder.

Lastly, if your condition was the result of injury, visit an eye doctor to ensure you don’t have other complications.

If you’re concerned about having a subconjunctival hemorrhage, make sure to schedule an appointment with your local eye care professional today!

Cover photo: Flicker / David Sidoux