• Is Broken Blood Vessel in the Eye Harmless?


    Question:

    How does one know if a broken blood vessel in the eye is under the membrane and thus harmless, or if it’s in the center of the eye and needs treatment?


    Answer:

    Blood under the conjunctiva (the thin membrane covering white of eye), also known as a subconjunctival hemorrhage, and blood inside the eye, which can be a hyphema (blood between the cornea and the iris), vitreous hemorrhage (bleeding in the middle of the eye), or retinal hemorrhage (bleeding of the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye), all have very different symptoms and external appearances. A subconjunctival hemorrhage is the most common and is easily recognizable as the blood is trapped under the membranes covering the white part of the eye giving a blood-red appearance. This is usually painless and does not affect vision.

    Blood inside the eye, however, usually cannot be seen by someone looking at your eye but can cause sometimes profound vision loss because the blood is blocking the visual axis. The only time this blood is visible to someone looking at your eye is if the blood is quite significant and covering the pupil or iris in the center of the eye. Depending on the underlying cause, these conditions may or may not result in any pain. All of the conditions that cause blood to accumulate inside of the eye need to be addressed by an ophthalmologist immediately. If you are concerned about the possibility of blood inside of your eye, see your ophthalmologist!


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