Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

  • Medical Author:
    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS

    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

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What are subconjunctival hemorrhage symptoms and signs?

Most of the time, no symptoms are associated with a subconjunctival hemorrhage other than seeing blood over the white part of the eye.

  • Very rarely people experience pain when the hemorrhage begins. When the bleeding first occurs, one may notice a sense of fullness in the eye or under the lid. Mild pressure around the eye may also be experienced. As the hemorrhage resolves, some people may feel very mild irritation of the eye or merely a sense of awareness of the eye.
  • The hemorrhage itself is an obvious, sharply outlined bright red area overlying the sclera. The entire white part of the eye may occasionally be covered by blood.
  • In a spontaneous subconjunctival hemorrhage, no blood will exit from the eye. If one blots the eye with a tissue, there should be no blood on the tissue.
  • The hemorrhage will appear larger within the first 24 hours after its onset and then will slowly decrease in size as the blood is absorbed.

Call a primary-care provider or ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who specializes in eye care and surgery) if the subconjunctival hemorrhage does not get better within two weeks or if it has happened multiple times.

Also, call your health-care provider if you have a hemorrhage in both eyes at the same time or if the subconjunctival hemorrhage coincides with a new onset of easy bruising or bleeding gums.

Go to a doctor immediately if the subconjunctival hemorrhage is associated with

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/20/2015

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