When a blood vessel behind the conjunctiva bursts, it pulls up, and appears as if there is blood in the eye, medically known as a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Patients don't even realize they have subconjunctival hemorrhage because it's asymptomatic, but if someone were to tell them, "It looks like you have blood in your eye” or if they look in the mirror, they might be really concerned.

What are the different causes of subconjunctival hemorrhage?

The good news is that it appears much worse than it actually is. This usually happens as a result of lifting heavy weights, working out really hard in the gym, or coughing or sneezing really hard.

If you are in the bathroom and straining and you are constipated, that strain, and that upper body pressure could all be reasons for a blood vessel to burst in your eye, and then you see blood in the white part of your eye.

Other causes of  subconjunctival hemorrhage include vomiting, rubbing your eye in a rough manner, contact lenses, virus and surgery.

Can subconjunctival hemorrhage be prevented?

It is not always possible to prevent red spots in the eye, but there are certain precautions that can be taken, including:

  • Make sure you rub your eyes gently
  • Keep your contact lenses properly cleaned
  • Wear protective eyewear to prevent eye injuries

How can subconjunctival hemorrhage be treated?

In most cases, there is no treatment; it resolves by itself within two to three weeks. It is relatively mild and not much to worry about.

When does a popped blood vessel in your eye (subconjunctival hemorrhage) need to be seen by an eye doctor?

In contrast, if subconjunctival hemorrhages occur very frequently, such as more than once per month or within a few months, then that can be a bit more concerning, as it could indicate some sort of issue with your blood.

Therefore, your eye doctor needs to check your blood pressure to see if you have any issues. If you have high blood pressure, it could indicate problems, or if you are anemic, it could indicate that you need bloodwork done to ensure everything is okay.

In most cases, however, the reason why you see blood in your eye is due to a ruptured blood vessel, and no treatment is necessary. Your eye doctor would only monitor you, and it should resolve in two to three weeks.

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