Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

A subconjunctival hemorrhage is a bleed under/into the conjunctiva {the white part of the eye}.

A subconjunctival hemorrhage occurs when a tiny blood vessel breaks just underneath the clear surface of your eye (conjunctiva).

The conjunctiva can’t absorb blood very quickly, so the blood gets trapped. You may not even realize you have a subconjunctival hemorrhage until you look in the mirror and notice the white part of your eye is bright red.

The hemorrhage initially appears bright-red underneath the transparent conjunctiva. Often  the hemorrhage may spread typically downward.  It typically does not become green or yellow, like a bruise but rather less and less red till it disappears.

Causes of a subconjunctival hemorrhage:

  • Surgery on the eye.  It is seen frequently in lasik surgery and cataract surgery.
  • Violent Sneezing or pronounced coughing
  • Straining
  • Vomiting
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Eye rubbing
  • Infections, some viral infections are associated with subconjunctival hemorrhages
  • Blood thinners
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Trauma

A subconjunctival hemorrhage often occurs without any obvious harm to your eye. Subconjunctival hemorrhages are very common as even a strong sneeze or cough can cause a blood vessel to break in the eye. You don’t need to treat it. But a subconjunctival hemorrhage is usually a harmless condition.  Unfortunately is quite noticeable and you may find people repeatedly mentioning it to you till it resolves.

Risk factors for a subconjunctival hemorrhage include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • blood-thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) and aspirin
  • Blood-clotting disorders

Retinal Examination:

It is wise to get a retinal examination with a subconjunctival hemorrhage because while unlikely the retina cause also bleed from similar causes:


You may want to use eyedrops, such as artificial tears, to soothe any scratchy feeling you have in your eye. Beyond that, the blood in your eye will absorb within about one to two weeks, and you’ll need no treatment.

How long till it disappears:

Depending on the size of the bleed, the blood can often takes up to two weeks to absorb.  There is no treatment that makes the  subconjunctival hemorrhage disappear more quickly.  It disappears with time.