What is eye bleeding?

Eye bleeding (hyphema) is bleeding inside the front chamber of your eye, and not from the surrounding eyelid or face. Eye bleeding can result in a red tinge, or even a pool of blood, inside the front portion of the eye between the clear cornea and the colored iris. The blood usually arises from a tear in a small artery inside the eye. The same force that tore a small artery can lead to other intraocular injuries: dislocated lens, traumatic cataract, globe perforation, vitreous hemorrhage, retinal detachment, and optic nerve atrophy.

The term subconjunctival hemorrhage is used when a small blood vessel bursts beneath the moist tissue layer that covers the eye, with an area of bleeding visible on the white of the eye.

Eye bleeding is usually caused by an injury to the eye. Other serious causes include cancer, malformations of blood vessels in the eye, and severe irritation and inflammation of the iris, which is the colored part of the eye. Small subconjunctival hemorrhages can result from pressure changes such as those experienced in sneezing or violent coughing. Hypertension (high blood pressure) and medications that interfere with blood clotting are other risk factors for subconjunctival hemorrhages.

Because any injury to the eye can jeopardize your vision, you should see a doctor immediately if you have bleeding inside the eye. In some cases, such as with a slight injury to the eye from trauma, the eye will heal on its own, and the blood will be absorbed. In other cases, such as with more severe trauma, emergency surgery is required to repair the injury and stop the bleeding. Most individuals sustaining a hyphema are at lifelong increased risk for the development of glaucoma.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you have a large amount of blood in the front of your eye or your vision is impaired by the blood. If an object has entered your eye, such as a nail, do not attempt to remove it.

Seek prompt medical care if you have a small amount of blood in the front of your eye due to an unknown cause.


What other symptoms might occur with eye bleeding?

Eye bleeding may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.

Common symptoms that may occur along with eye bleeding

Eye bleeding may accompany other symptoms including:


What causes eye bleeding?

Eye bleeding is most often caused by injury to the eye, such as blunt trauma or penetration of something sharp into the eye. Other causes of eye bleeding include malformations of the blood vessels in the eye, cancer in the eye, or severe inflammation of the inner portions of the eye.

Common causes of subconjunctival hemorrhage

Subconjunctival hemorrhages that appear as ... Read more about eye bleedingcauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Eyes and Vision

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