Subconjunctival Hemorrhage (cont.)

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How is a subconjunctival hemorrhage diagnosed?

Your ophthalmologist will take a medical, eye, and medication history to determine what events were leading up to the subconjunctival hemorrhage and will also perform an examination. Your blood pressure may also be checked.

If trauma was the cause, a more thorough examination will usually be performed. Once the diagnosis of subconjunctival hemorrhage is made, your ophthalmologist might be able to tell you the cause and if there is any sign of damage to the eye.

In newborn infants, subconjunctival hemorrhage can occasionally be found as a result of the birth process. Shaken baby syndrome should be considered in young children with subconjunctival hemorrhages in both eyes.

What is the treatment for a subconjunctival hemorrhage?

Usually, no treatment is needed. Over-the-counter artificial tears can be applied to the eye if mild irritation is present. The eye does not require a patch.

The use of aspirin or other medication that inhibits clotting should be avoided. If you are taking aspirin or an anticoagulant for a medical condition, check with your physician to determine whether the medication should be stopped or continued. Do not stop anti-coagulation medicines without physician consultation. These medications are frequently life savers, and they rarely need to be discontinued for a subconjunctival hemmorhage.

If the subconjunctival hemorrhage is trauma-related, your ophthalmologist will determine what other treatment is necessary to promote healing of the injury.

If the subconjunctival hemorrhage is a result of an external infection, your ophthalmologist may prescribe antibiotic drops or an ointment.

This condition clears by itself within one to two weeks. Recovery is usually complete, without any long-term problems, similar to a mild bruise under the skin. Like a bruise, a subconjunctival hemorrhage changes colors (often red to orange to yellow) as it heals. A skin bruise changes to various shades of green, black, and blue as it heals, because the blood is being seen through skin. Because the conjunctiva is transparent, a subconjunctival hemorrhage never has these color characteristics.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/5/2014

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