Broken Blood Vessels in Eyes

Last updated on May 12th, 2019 at 07:40 pm

Likewise known as a subconjunctival hemorrhage, a broken blood vessel in your eye is generally a harmless condition (although see listed below) that cleans up within one to 3 weeks.

Subconjunctival is the term used to explain the area located just below the conjunctiva (the clear surface area of your eye). The term hemorrhage refers to the breakage of small blood vessels.

Many people do not realize they have a broken blood vessel in their eye up until someone tells them or they look in a mirror. This condition is not painful, and typically establishes after blunt injury to the eye. In most cases, treatment is not required for a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

A subconjunctival hemorrhage typically happens with no obvious harm to your eye. Even a strong sneeze or cough can cause a blood vessel to break in the eye. You do not have to treat it. Your symptoms might stress you. But a subconjunctival hemorrhage is generally a harmless condition that vanishes within two weeks approximately.

Causes of a Broken Blood Vessels in Eyes

Besides the noticeable bleeding in between the sclera (the white part of the eye) and conjunctiva, many people describe a scratchy or itchy feeling on the surface of the eye. Pain is normally non-existent or very little, and there is no change in vision, although there might be some pain.

The conjunctiva consists of numerous nerves and tiny blood vessels. These blood vessels (which are hardly visible until they become inflamed and enlarged) are delicate, and their walls can easily break. Occasions that can cause capillary on the front of the eye to break include:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Straining
  • Improperly managed high blood pressure
  • Weeping
  • Rubbing your eyes
  • Blunt trauma
  • Increased intracranial or intraocular pressure
  • Shaken baby syndrome (often the case in children with subconjunctival hemorrhages in both eyes).

This is not an exhaustive list; frequently the precise reason for the injury is unknown. There are a number of factors that can increase the risk of a broken blood vessel on the front of the eye. For instance, medications and supplements such as warfarin, aspirin, Plavix, and high doses of vitamin E can thin the blood and make it much easier for hemorrhages to take place.

Although rare, St. John’s wort, ginkgo biloba, ginger, and cayenne can also increase one’s risk if taken in high dosages. Periodically, blood vessels on the front of the eye will break due to conjunctivitis (eye infection) and high blood pressure.

One More Reason: Post-Surgery Condition

Most vision-correcting operations, including LASIK or cataract surgery, require a special approach to postoperative recovery from the patient. In particular, the patient should avoid a rush of blood to the head (and, accordingly, to the eyes).

Moreover, if this rule is broken, the rupture of the blood vessels of the eye is quite real.

Therefore, those who are faced with this problem (namely, the rupture of blood vessels after eye surgery) should immediately contact your doctor to avoid complications.

Broken (Popped) Blood Vessels in Eyes Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Risks of a Broken Blood Vessel in Your Eye

If you have observed the look of blood in your eye, it might be advisable for you to look for medical attention. While a broken blood vessel in your eye is seldom unsafe, hyphema (blood in the front chamber of the eye, between the cornea and the iris) is possibly a more serious condition, with more major effects.

Diagnosing a Broken Blood Vessel in Your Eye

If you have a damaged blood vessel in your eye, you ought to call your eye doctor and schedule a consultation. For the most parts, a simple eye test suffices for an optometrist to properly detect a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

If the cause is unidentified, however, your doctor might carry out a series of tests to rule out other eye conditions that may be causing the hemorrhaging. Your optometrist will ask you about your case history (medications consisted of), and about any activities that may have induced the rupture.

If trauma is the cause, a more comprehensive evaluation will be carried out to make sure that damage has actually not occurred to other structures in your eye.

Treatment of a Broken Blood Vessel in Eye

Most of the times, treatment is not needed for a subconjunctival hemorrhage. If you are experiencing discomfort or pain, over-the-counter pain medications such as Tylenol might be recommended.

Aspirin and related items need to be avoided due to their blood-thinning side effects. Those who take aspirin or anticoagulants for a medical condition need to talk with their optometrist to figure out whether it is safe to continue utilizing these during the recovery procedure.

Over-the-counter synthetic tears might likewise help in reducing any irritation. If the subconjunctival hemorrhage is due to injury, other treatment might be needed to promote healing. If an infection is present, antibiotic eye drops or lotion may be recommended.

Generally, the condition clears up on its own within two or 3 weeks, without long-lasting problems.

Preventing Broken Blood Vessels in Eye

Broken blood vessels in your eye can in some cases be avoided. To prevent eye injuries, wear protective eyeglasses during athletic events or whenever you are exposed to environments that include flying particles (such as dust) or bright sunlight.

If you are experiencing reoccurring damaged capillary in your eye, look for medical focus on eliminate underlying blood-clotting conditions. Treatment of an underlying medical condition can prevent symptoms such as damaged capillary.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

  • How severe is my hemorrhage?
  • For how long will my eye be red?
  • What can I do to prevent this from happening once again?
  • Which treatment alternatives do I have?
  • Which complications may arise if my eye is left untreated?
  • Could this damage my vision in the future?

More Information About Eye Blood Vessels

  • The conjunctiva is the thin tissue that covers the sclera. It is the outer protective finishing of the eyeball.
  • The wall of a little blood vessel within the conjunctiva may break spontaneously or from injury, triggering a red area on the sclera, leading to a subconjunctival hemorrhage.
  • A subconjunctival hemorrhage looks like a bright red or dark red patch on the white of the eye.
  • There are usually no symptoms associated with a subconjunctival hemorrhage.
  • A subconjunctival hemorrhage is often first noticed by searching in the mirror or from another person saying that one’s eye looks red.
  • Medical diagnosis is made on the basis of the appearance of the hemorrhage and the absence of other findings.
  • Many subconjunctival hemorrhages clear without treatment in one to two weeks.
Alik Muradov (Eyexan Team Member) / author of the article
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Ophthalmology: Health of Your Eyes
Comments: 5
  1. Nancy_RM

    I am a nurse in an ophthalmology workplace. The broken blood vessel is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage and is nothing to worry about. They are more typical if you are taking any type of blood thinner(everyday aspirin )and can occur with straining on the toilet, coughing, vomiting, or completely out of the blue. It will resolve over a week or two. They can look pretty scary, but are harmless.

  2. mary howard

    I am now have the third broken eye vessel. this time in the right eye, it is usually in the left eye. I take Plavix and do strain going to the bathroom. If these are the causes how do I prevent them? This is the third in as many months. Thank you.

    1. Reyus Mammadli (Eyexan Team Leader)

      Given the fact that the drug you take affects the blood system, it is possible that the reason for the rupture of the vessel in this. In any case, the doctor can give a full answer to this question. Do not be lazy to visit a doctor if you care about the condition of your eyes.

  3. Simona Price

    For me, these veins on the eyeball is a common problem. I guess family members are used to seeing me with those eyes. Before dripping drops (and doctors like to prescribe drugs,even when they are not necessary), but now just before going to bed, drink more water, less look at the monitor and TV.

    However, lacking such a regime to me for awhile. Yeah, I’m a bad girl. )))

    1. Dr.Baker

      Simone, are you not afraid that today it is broken vessels and burst capillaries in the eyes, and “tomorrow” cataracts and glaucoma? I’m not talking about direct link. But the eye strain can trigger the “dormant” disease, because the body can not it any longer. Think about it.

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