Understanding Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

by Oct 11, 2023

Discovering blood pooling in the white of your eye can be quite alarming at first glance. It can give the appearance of a severe eye problem and cause significant worry. However, in the majority of cases, this occurrence is known as a sub-conjunctival hemorrhage, which is generally no more concerning than a small bruise on the skin. Nevertheless, there are specific situations in which a sub-conjunctival hemorrhage warrants further attention. In this blog, we will explore when a sub-conjunctival hemorrhage should be a concern and when it is typically not, shedding light on this relatively harmless yet visually striking eye condition.


Subconjunctival Hemorrhage: A Generally Benign Condition

Let’s begin by understanding what a sub-conjunctival hemorrhage actually is. It refers to the breaking of tiny blood vessels within the conjunctiva, which is the clear tissue covering the white part of the eye. The blood released from these vessels spreads across the conjunctiva, resulting in the appearance of a red or bloodshot eye. Despite the dramatic and often concerning appearance, sub-conjunctival hemorrhages are usually harmless and tend to resolve on their own without any medical treatment.


Concerning Instances of Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

While most cases of sub-conjunctival hemorrhage are nothing to worry about, there are specific circumstances in which further evaluation and attention may be necessary. If you experience the following, it is advisable to seek the advice of an eye doctor:

Recurrent Hemorrhages in One Eye over Several Months: If you notice recurring sub-conjunctival hemorrhages in the same eye over an extended period, it could be an indicator of an underlying condition or a potential eye health issue that requires investigation.

Hemorrhage Does Not Resolve within One to Two Weeks: Sub-conjunctival hemorrhages typically resolve spontaneously within one to two weeks. If the blood pooling does not seem to improve or disappear during this timeframe, a consultation with an eye doctor is recommended to rule out any complications or underlying concerns.

Association with Intense Eye Pain: While sub-conjunctival hemorrhages are typically painless if you experience intense eye pain in combination with the hemorrhage, it may signify a more serious eye problem or injury. Seeking prompt medical attention is crucial in such cases.


Consulting an Eye Doctor for Evaluation

When any of the above circumstances occur, it is advisable to consult an eye doctor for a thorough evaluation and proper guidance. The eye doctor will carefully assess the sub-conjunctival hemorrhage and determine the best course of action, if any, to pursue. In most instances, no specific treatment is required, as the hemorrhage will naturally resolve over time without causing further harm to the eye or affecting vision. However, the eye doctor will provide individualized recommendations based on the specific details of the case.


Understanding and Managing Expectations

It is important to manage expectations when dealing with a sub-conjunctival hemorrhage. While it may be distressing in appearance, it is typically a transient and harmless condition. The blood within the eye will gradually be reabsorbed by the body, and the eye will return to its normal appearance. Patience is key during this process, as it may take several days or weeks for the redness to completely disappear.


Our eye doctors at Wilmington Family Eye Care in Wilmington, DE excel in the prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases. Call our optometrists at 302-299-1286 or schedule an eye exam appointment online if you would like to learn more about sub-conjunctival hemorrhage. Our eye doctors, Drs. Daniel Baruffi, Amy Quan, Patricia Jones, and Joseph Goldberg provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Wilmington, Delaware and its surrounding areas.

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