Subconjunctival Hemorrhage (Eye Bruise)

What is a subconjunctival hemorrhage?

A subconjunctival hemorrhage is a red patch on the white part of the eye. It occurs when a blood vessel breaks and is similar to a bruise.


What are the symptoms of a subconjunctival hemorrhage?

Usually there are no symptoms. Patients often report that they became aware of it when they looked in the mirror or someone brought it to their attention. In some cases, patients note mild discomfort or foreign body sensation.


What causes a subconjunctival hemorrhage?

The cause is often unknown but it can be associated with coughing, sneezing, vomiting, or straining with constipation. It can also occur with eye infections (rarely) and with trauma or eye rubbing. Risk factors include high blood pressure, taking blood thinning medications and blood clotting disorders.


Treatment for subconjunctival hemorrhage

Usually no treatment is necessary. The hemorrhage will heal in a few days to a week or so, like a bruise. Artificial tears or cold compresses can be used for discomfort, but usually are not needed.


Call your health care provider if the hemorrhage does not resolve within 2 weeks or your child develops:

  • Decreased vision
  • Eye pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Recurrent subconjunctival hemorrhages