Red Spot in the Eye, Is it Dangerous? - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India

Red Spot in the Eye, Is it Dangerous?

Authored by DesiMD Doctor on 6 May 2016 - 10:17


The red spot in the eye appears when a tiny blood vessel bursts open. It is medically called as subconjunctival haemorrhage and looks like a bright red patch in the white of the eye.

How does it happen?

When one of the blood vessels burst open, the blood has nowhere else to go but from under the conjunctival area. The sight gets scarier if a larger blood vessel bursts as the blood can spread all across the white of the eye. People hardly notice any pain or light sensitivity or irritation when it occurs. According to an article titled “Subconjunctival hemorrhage: risk factors and potential indicators” published in NCBI, “the major risk factors include trauma and contact lens usage in younger patients, whereas among the elderly, systemic vascular diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and arteriosclerosis,”

Subconjunctival Haemorrhage: Definition

This condition is similar to an ordinary skin bruise, wherein the eye bruise looks like one or many concentrated red spots in the white of the eye. The conjunctiva is a thin, transparent, moist membrane covering the white area of the eye. It contains nerves and several tiny blood vessels which are very fragile, whose walls can easily break, resulting in a subconjunctival haemorrhage.

Causes of Subconjunctival Haemorrhage

In most cases, subconjunctival haemorrhages occur spontaneously without any cause. Most of them are painless and are discovered only when a person notices in the mirror or when some others notice them. In rare cases, an angulated blood vessel or an abnormally large blood vessel causes haemorrhage. The most common causes for this condition include –

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Straining or any action that raises blood pressure in the veins, resulting in a small rupture in a blood vessels or capillaries
  • Increasing the pressure in the head veins like weight lifting or lying down on an inverted table upside-down
  • Inserting contact lenses
  • A medical disorder that inhibits normal clotting
  • Trauma to the eye, including vigorously rubbing the eye

Some less frequent causes –

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • High blood pressure
  • Excessive amounts of specific medications like aspirin and warfarin (blood thinners) which affect the bleeding mechanisms of the body

Difference between Subconjunctival Haemorrhage & Pink Eye

It is quite confusing to tell if subconjunctival haemorrhage could be pinkeye or not. Sometimes, you can also notice bright redness of the whites of the eyes when trauma causes the tiny blood vessels to rupture. For example, if you laugh loudly or vomit, dive under water or bend upside down, this condition could occur. Although it appears frightening, it is harmless. In the case of pinkeye, it is associated with inflammation of the conjunctiva and it is extremely painful with burning sensation.

Signs and Symptoms of Subconjunctival Haemorrhage

  • There are generally no symptoms associated with this condition apart from seeing blood in the white part of the eye. Experiencing pain during haemorrhage is very rare
  • There is a sense of fullness under the eyelid when the bleeding occurs, followed by mild pressure or eye irritation
  • Sometimes, the entire white area of the eye is covered by blood
  • One will not notice blood escape from the eye. When you blot the eye with a tissue, there should not be blood in it
  • After its onset, the haemorrhage appears larger in the first 24 hours, after which it gradually decreases in size while absorbing the blood

Treatment of Subconjunctival Haemorrhage

  • This condition actually does not need any treatment. In case of mild irritation, you can use artificial tears and you also don’t need a patch. Avoid using medicines such as aspirin. If you’re using anticoagulant, never alter or change your dosage without referring to your physician.
  • ·         If the condition results from a trauma, an ophthalmologist decides the line of treatment and works towards faster healing.
  • If it is caused by an external infection, an ointment or some antibiotic drops will do.
  • This condition usually clears on its own in a span of one to two weeks.
  • The recovery is similar to a mild skin bruise and heals completely with time, with the colour gradually changing from red to orange and then to yellow.
  • Cold/warm compress: Start with a cold pack for the first 24 hours. Follow it up with a warm pack and do it 3 times every day for 10 to 15 minutes.

A word of Caution:          

  •  If the subconjunctival haemorrhage does not subside within two weeks or if it occurs numerous times, it’s always better to meet an ophthalmologist.
  • If you notice a haemorrhage in both the eyes at the same time or if it is associated with bleeding gums or a bruise
  • Visit your doctor immediately if you notice the following –
               - Change in vision (double vision, blurry vision, difficulty in seeing)
               - History of bleeding disorders/ high blood pressure, recent trauma or injury

Can Subconjunctival Haemorrhage be prevented?

If you are facing this condition frequently or if it is associated with bleeding or easy bruising, you could possibly be facing a clotting problem. Treatment of similar underlying conditions can prevent future haemorrhages. 




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