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Understanding Subconjunctival Hemorrhage: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Prevention

Diagnosis, and Prevention

Subconjunctival hemorrhage, commonly known as bloodshot eyes, is a condition characterized by the sudden appearance of redness due to the rupture of small blood vessels beneath the conjunctiva. Despite its alarming appearance, subconjunctival hemorrhage typically resolves on its own in two weeks or so, without causing any discomfort or vision impairment. However, understanding its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and preventive measures is essential for proper management.


The primary symptom of subconjunctival hemorrhage is the noticeable redness of the eye, often likened to a bloodshot appearance. Importantly, individuals with this condition usually do not experience pain or changes in vision.


Subconjunctival hemorrhage can occur spontaneously without an identifiable cause. However, certain factors may predispose individuals to this condition, including:

  • Forceful sneezing or coughing
  • Straining during heavy lifting or strenuous activities
  • Excessive rubbing of the eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Local Eye Trauma

Risk Factors

Individuals with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or blood-clotting disorders are at increased risk of developing subconjunctival hemorrhage. Additionally, smokers may have a higher propensity for this condition due to the adverse effects of tobacco use on blood vessels.


While subconjunctival hemorrhages typically resolve spontaneously within a few weeks, they may occasionally be indicative of underlying systemic diseases. Therefore, it is prudent for individuals experiencing recurrent or severe episodes of bloodshot eyes to undergo evaluation by a trusted ophthalmologist to rule out any potential complications.


While some causes of subconjunctival hemorrhage may be unavoidable, certain preventive measures can help minimize the risk:

  • Avoiding vigorous rubbing of the eyes
  • Taking regular breaks during prolonged periods of screen time to reduce eye strain
  • Monitoring and managing hypertension through lifestyle modifications and medication adherence
  • Exercising caution when using anticoagulant medications, following prescribed dosages meticulously

Diagnosis and Tests

Diagnosing subconjunctival hemorrhage typically involves a comprehensive eye examination by an eye doctor. Through visual inspection, the specialist can confirm the presence of blood beneath the conjunctiva and assess the extent of the hemorrhage. Additionally, a thorough medical history review, including inquiries about recent activities or medications, may provide valuable insights into potential contributing factors.


Treatment for subconjunctival hemorrhage typically involves supportive measures aimed at promoting healing and alleviating discomfort. While the condition generally resolves spontaneously over time, the following strategies may be employed:

  • Observation: In most cases, subconjunctival hemorrhage resolves without the need for medical intervention. Patients are advised to monitor the condition and note any changes in symptoms.
  • Artificial Tears: If the affected eye feels dry or irritated, the use of artificial tears can provide symptomatic relief. These lubricating eye drops help maintain moisture and comfort while the hemorrhage heals.
  • Avoiding Irritants: Individuals are encouraged to avoid activities or substances that may exacerbate eye irritation, such as exposure to smoke, dust, or harsh environmental conditions.

Final Considerations

While subconjunctival hemorrhage may cause temporary concern due to its striking appearance, it is usually a benign and self-limiting condition. By understanding its underlying causes, recognizing its symptoms, and implementing appropriate preventive measures, individuals can effectively manage this ocular phenomenon. Nevertheless, consulting with an eye care professional for proper diagnosis and guidance remains paramount, especially in cases of recurrent or severe bloodshot eyes.

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