Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Eye Health Center

Font Size

Eye Problems and Blood in the Eye

Sometimes small blood vessels in the whites of the eyes break and cause a red spot or speck. This is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage. The blood vessels may break because of sneezing, coughing, vomiting, straining, or bending over, but sometimes there is no clear cause. The blood may look alarming, especially if the spot is large. It is usually not a cause for concern and will clear up in 2 to 3 weeks. Subconjunctival hemorrhage is usually not a serious problem if your vision is normal, there is no eye pain, and the bleeding does not cover a large portion of the white of the eye and does not spread into the colored part of the eye (iris).

Bleeding that occurs between the colored part of the eye (iris) and the cornea is called a hyphema. This is more serious than bleeding that occurs in the white of the eye. You may have mild pain or no pain at all. After an eye injury, blood usually appears immediately. But if the injury is mild, blood may not appear until up to 5 days later. You may also have vision changes. A hyphema may be a more serious problem for a person who has sickle cell disease. If you have a hyphema, see an eye specialist (ophthalmologist).

Medicines that help prevent blood clots may increase the risk of bleeding in both the white or colored part of the eye. When there is bleeding into the eye, do not take aspirin, aspirin-related products, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) for pain because they can increase bleeding. Use acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) instead.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last RevisedNovember 2, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 02, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

businesswoman wearing fun eyeglasses
Slideshow
Pink Eye Slideshow
Slideshow
 
Woman with itchy watery eyes
Slideshow
grilled salmon and spinach
Video
 

Understanding Stye
Article
human eye
Article
 
eye
Video
eye exam timing
Video
 

vision test
Tool
is vision correction surgery for you
Article
 
high tech contacts
Article
eye drop
Article
 

Special Sections