The conjunctiva is the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye (sclera). It protects and lubricates the eyeball. The conjunctiva contains many small, rather fragile blood vessels. Rupture of one of these small vessels or capillaries results in a subconjunctival hemorrhage. This appears as a sharply-outlined, bright red spot on the white of the eye.
Most of the time no symptoms accompany subconjunctival hemorrhages; however, some patients complain of a sharp pain when the hemorrhage begins. Many people become alarmed by the sudden onset of this common problem, even though it is not associated with any diseases that cause vision loss. The hemorrhage tends to fade over the following two to three weeks and clears last in the area next to the colored part of the eye (Iris).
What causes a Subconjuctival Hemorrhage?
Most of the time an obvious cause is not found. Only rarely is the condition ever associated with high blood pressure or other bleeding problems. Often it is discovered on awakening. Occasionally it occurs due to sneezing, coughing, straining or eye rubbing.
How is it treated?
No treatment is needed. Subconjunctival hemorrhages may move or spread and look worse before they become better, but they will eventually clear.