Can Stress Cause Burst Blood Vessels in the Eye?

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

Recently, many blood vessels burst in my eye. I'm pregnant and under a lot of stress. Could stress have caused the blood vessels to burst?

Doctor's response

The conjunctiva, the thin, watery membrane that coasts the eye, contains many small blood vessels. Occasionally, these blood vessels can burst and led to hemorrhage (bleeding) that appears as a red patch on the white of the eye. In the majority of cases, this type of bleeding (called subconjunctival hemorrhage) occurs without a known cause. Subconjunctival hemorrhage can also result from certain medical conditions including trauma, high blood pressure, eye infections, and bleeding disorders. The straining associated with vomiting, coughing, or sneezing can also sometimes lead to subconjunctival hemorrhage. Stress is not a recognized cause of subconjunctival hemorrhage.

The good news is, if you had a conjunctival hemorrhage, these are only cosmetically annoying but go away and do not endanger the vision.

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Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCE:

"Evaluation of the red eye"
UpToDate.com

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Last Editorial Review: 7/6/2017

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