Burst Blood Vessel in Eye

A condition known as a subconjunctival hemorrhage is caused by burst blood vessel in eye. The hemorrhage occurs under the clear surface of the eye known as the conjunctive and since the conjunctiva doesn't absorb blood very quickly, it becomes trapped under the transparent surface. You may not even know you have this condition until you see your red eye in a mirror. Fortunately, this condition will usually resolve itself without treatment within one to two weeks.

The Causes of Burst Blood Vessel in Eye (Subconjunctival Hemorrhages)

1. Activities Leading to Increased Pressure in Eye

While the cause of a subconjunctival hemorrhage isn't always known, one usually occurs when there is an increased pressure in the body that puts strain on the small blood vessels. Sometimes seemingly innocuous incidences will strain the small blood vessels in the eye and cause them to burst. These incidences may include:

  • Hard or Violent Coughing
  • Strong Sneezes
  • Vomiting
  • Lifting Heavy Objects

2. Injury

An injury to the eye can also result in burst blood vessel in eye. Sometimes you can injure your eye by rubbing it too hard, from an eye infection or as a result of trauma, such as a foreign object injuring your eye.

3. Medications and Medical Conditions

It is rare that a subconjunctival hemorrhage occurs due to an underlying medical condition, but it can be the result of taking blood thinning medications. If a hemorrhage does suddenly develop, it is usually sign that your blood is too thin and your doctor may need to adjust your medication. In addition, people who have high blood pressure or diabetes may be predisposed to subconjunctival hemorrhages and should consult their doctor if and when they occur.

Don't confuse it with eye infections:

Sometimes infections like pink eye may resemble burst blood vessel in eye and you should notice the difference because pink eye comes with itching feeling and abundant eye discharge.

Should I Worry About a Subconjunctival Hemorrhage?

Unless you have experienced a trauma to the eye, you may not realize you have burst blood vessel in eye until you notice a bright red patch in the white, or sclera, of your eye. Usually, these hemorrhages will not cause pain, there normally isn't discharge from the eye and your vision will usually not be affected. The only discomfort you may notice is a scratchy feeling on the surface of your eye.

While the appearance of your eye may cause you to be concerned, complications from a subconjunctival hemorrhage are rare. If the hemorrhage occurred because of a trauma to your eye, then your doctor will probably evaluate it to make sure there were no further complications or injury to your eye.

How to Treat a Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

  • Most subconjunctival hemorrhages will resolve on their own in about 7to 10 days. As the hemorrhage begins to heal, you may notice changes in color to the affected area of your eye, much like a bruise changes colors. However, if you have any discomfort, such as a scratchy feeling in your eye, you can use eye drops like artificial tears to help soothe it.
  • The blood resulting from the subconjunctival hemorrhage should absorb within one to two weeks without treatment. If you are taking aspirin or blood thinners, do not stop taking them unless you have been told to do so by your doctor.
  • In addition, try not to rub your affected eye because that could cause the bleeding to reoccur.
  • If the burst blood vessel in eye are the result of a trauma, then an ophthalmologist will determine if additional treatment is needed to help the eye heal.
  • Also, if the hemorrhage resulted from an eye infection, he or she may prescribe antibiotic drops or an ointment to help treat the eye. However, there is usually no need to consult with a doctor.

When Should You See a Doctor?

Although a subconjunctival hemorrhage is usually not a cause for concern, you should make an appointment with your doctor or an ophthalmologist, a doctor that specializes in eye care, if the condition hasn't improved after two weeks. You should also make an appointment if you have a hemorrhage in both eyes at the same time or if you have experienced multiple subconjunctival hemorrhages.

It is important to seek immediate medical care if you have burst blood vessel in eye and have:

  • Pain with the subconjunctival hemorrhage
  • Any changes in vision like double vision, blurred vision, etc.
  • A history of high blood pressure
  • A history of blood disorders
  • An injury resulting from trauma to the eye
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