Subconjunctival hemorrhage (broken blood vessel in eye)

A subconjunctival hemorrhage (sub-kun-JUNK-tih-vul HEM-uh-ruj) occurs when a tiny blood vessel breaks just underneath the clear surface of your eye (conjunctiva).

You may not realize you have a subconjunctival hemorrhage until you look in the mirror and find the white part of your eye is bright red.

The conjunctiva can't absorb the blood very quickly, so the blood is trapped under this transparent surface. A subconjunctival hemorrhage may worry you, but it's usually a harmless condition that disappears within one or two weeks.

Subconjunctival hemorrhage often occurs without any obvious harm to your eye, or it may be the result of a strong sneeze or cough that caused a blood vessel to break. You don't need any specific treatment for a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

The most obvious sign of a subconjunctival hemorrhage is a bright red patch on the white (sclera) of your eye.

Despite its bloody appearance, a subconjunctival hemorrhage should cause no change in your vision, no discharge from your eye and no pain. Your only discomfort may be a scratchy feeling on the surface of your eye.

When to see a doctor

If you have recurrent subconjunctival hemorrhages or other bleeding, talk to your doctor.

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