Subconjunctival Hemorrhage ---
Causes and Top 7 Natural Remedies
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June 25, 2017
By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

Ever wake up one morning with a red eye? It’s disturbing to see
a red patch on your eyeball – and even more worrying when
there doesn’t appear to be a cause. But don’t panic. It is likely
that you’re experiencing a subconjunctival hemorrhage. And
though it may look like your eye is bleeding uncontrollable, this is
a relatively common, benign condition.

But what happened to make your eye bleed or cause your red
eye? Will subconjunctival hemorrhage go away on its own, or
does it need treatment?

What Is a Subconjunctival Hemorrhage?

The conjunctiva is a very thin membrane that is completely
transparent. It covers the white of your eye (also called the
sclera) and acts as a coating to protect the eyeball from irritants
and infection. The conjunctiva is made up of lots and lots of tiny
blood vessels as well as nerves. Normally you can hardly see
these blood vessels as they are so thin, but they can become
more visible when your eye is inflamed. They can also break very
easily as they are particularly fragile. This is what leads to a
subconjunctival hemorrhage.

A subconjunctival hemorrhage means bleeding under (sub) the
conjunctiva. The bleeding appears as a dark red patch or spot on
the white of your eye. Since the red patch is on the white part of
the eyeball it is particularly visible and noticeable.

What Does a Subconjunctival Hemorrhage Look Like?

In many cases you will have no other symptoms apart from a
blood spot over a part of the white in the eye. This spot is sharply
defined and it is bright red.

On some occasions the whole of the white of the eye will be
covered with blood.

But no blood comes from the eye – there will be no blood on a
tissue if you touch your eye. And you will not experience any
vision changes.

The bleeding will slowly subside and after around 24 hours it will
decrease in size. As this happens the color changes to a yellow
shade as the blood becomes absorbed back into the eye.

In rare cases you may experience some pain when the bleeding
begins, or you may not have any pain but instead a feeling of
fullness or heaviness in the eye, or heaviness under the eyelid.
Sometimes you will experience irritation in the eye as the bleeding
goes away, but this is not particularly common.

What Is the Difference Between Subconjunctival Hemorrhage
and Pink Eye?

Subconjunctival hemorrhage is sometimes confused with pinkeye.
But while both affect the conjunctiva, there are distinct

A subconjunctival hemorrhage is where the blood vessels in the
whites of the eye are broken, and this is often caused by trauma.

Pinkeye, on the other hand,  is an inflammation of the conjunctiva
and it results in swelling and irritation, and it can be caused by a
viral source which means it is contagious.

How Many People Suffer a Subconjunctival Hemorrhage?

Subconjunctival hemorrhage is a common occurrence. A 2015
study from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New
York found that subconjunctival hemorrhage occurs in one in 167
people in Taiwan (the study took place between 2000 and 2011.)

The researchers also found that it is more common in women
than men, and it is more likely to occur after the age of 60.
Older people tend to experience subconjunctival hemorrhage
more often, and to experience the condition more severely when
they do.

A 2010 study from the University of Tokyo Graduate School of
Medicine, Tokyo, Japan found subconjunctival hemorrhage
affected more areas of the eye the older the person. The study
looked at 151 patients aged between 2 and 94 years.

This may be because older people tend to suffer from
subconjunctival hemorrhage more often due to high blood
pressure, and when high blood pressure is the cause it results in
a greater spread of the hemorrhage over the eye.

What Are The Causes of Subconjunctival Hemorrhage?

In many cases you will not know what caused a subconjunctival
hemorrhage. But there are some small but significant actions that
can make it possible. Violent coughing powerful sneezing,
vomiting, straining on the toilet, or even bending over can cause
the blood vessels in the eye to rupture.

You may experience a subconjunctival hemorrhage when you lift
heavy luggage while traveling or heavy shopping bags at the

Sometimes a subconjunctival hemorrhage will result from an
injury to the eye, for example roughly rubbing the eye, or getting
a foreign object stuck in the eye. It can occur after eye surgery
or LASIK surgery. Contact lenses can cause a subconjunctival
hemorrhage if the lenses scratch or bump the eye, or if they are
left in too long and cause scratching and irritation.
You are more likely to suffer from a subconjunctival hemorrhage
if you are taking blood thinning medications like warfarin, you
have a blood clotting disorder, or you have diabetes or high
blood pressure.

The “major current risk factors… are trauma and contact-lens-
induced injury in younger patients, while hypertension is the
main factor in older patients,” according to a 2010 study from the
University of Tokyo Graduate School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan.
The study looked at 161 patients with subconjunctival

They also found that diabetes was the cause in 13.1 percent of
the patients, and there was an unknown cause in many cases.

Is Subconjunctival Hemorrhage Dangerous?

A subconjunctival hemorrhage is not normally cause for concern.
However, you should consult your eye doctor if the blood spot
lasts for two weeks or more, or if the subconjunctival
hemorrhages keep happening. It may also be a cause of concern
if you have bleeding in both eyes at once.

If you also suffer from other symptoms like easy bruising,
bleeding gums, or other bleeding, contact your eye doctor. You
should also get your symptoms checked out quickly if you have
pain in the eye, changes in vision, injury after a trauma to the
eye, or high blood pressure.

What Is the Treatment for Subconjunctival Hemorrhage?

In most cases it is not necessary to treat the subconjunctival
hemorrhage as it will go away on its own. After the active
hemorrhage stops, the whites of your eye will return to white
gradually, usually within two weeks.

But if you have eye irritation you may find it useful to use artificial
tears or eye drops.

Avoid taking aspirin or ibuprofen as these medications can make
the bleeding worse.

In many cases, you can prevent subconjunctival hemorrhage by
taking some simple steps to protect the blood vessels in your eye
from damage. And in most cases, prevention is better than cure.

We looked at recent scientific studies to find out how to remedy
subconjunctival hemorrhage, and what you can do to prevent it.

High Blood Pressure Can Cause Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

It is important to control your blood pressure for many reasons,
including cutting the risk of subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Hypertension is the condition most often associated with
spontaneous subconjunctival hemorrhage, according to a 2103
study from Adana Numune Training and Research Hospital in
Adana, Turkey.

The study looked at 50 patients with subconjunctival hemorrhage
aged up to 88 years. High blood pressure can cause damage to
blood vessels in the eyes, resulting in the dark red patches of
subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Violent Coughing Can Cause Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

Blood vessels in the conjunctiva can also be ruptured by actions
like coughing forcefully or for long periods of time.

Many natural remedies have been tested to see if they work to
limit coughs, with limited success. But chocolate may just do the
trick. A 2005 study from the National Heart and Lung Institute,
Imperial College London in the UK actually suggests that an
active substance in chocolate, theobromine, has a cough-
suppressant effect.

The study looked at the effect of this substance on guinea pigs
and it is not clear whether the same effects would be found
simply by eating chocolate.

To Prevent Subconjunctival Hemorrhage, Don't Lift Heavy

Are you planning a trip? If you want to cut the risk of suffering a
subconjunctival hemorrhage, pay attention when you are lifting
heavy bags. The strain of lifting heavy luggage when on vacation
or shopping bags at the store can cause blood vessels to burst in
the eye.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in 2009 offered
advice for safer lifting to avoid strain and sprains.

They suggested people pack lightly for vacations, and bend at the
knees when lifting luggage.

They also suggest people first lift a carry-on bag onto the seat
before lifting it into the overhead compartment on a plane,
putting the wheel edge in first so you can push the case back into
the compartment.

Reduce  Subconjunctival Hemorrhage Risk From LASIK Surgery

Occasionally people are troubled by subconjunctival hemorrhage
following eye surgery, including corrective surgery for vision

According to 2012 research from Kansas State University, a type
of glue mixture helps to reduce problems following laser vision
corrective surgery. There are potential problems if the eye is hit
in a trauma incident following the surgery. The glue helps protect
the surface of the eye, reducing these problems and also
potentially reducing the risk of bleeding from subconjunctival

Risk of Subconjunctival Hemorrhage From Incorrect Contact
Lens Usage

Damage to the blood vessels in the eye may be caused by
incorrectly using contact lenses, including leaving them in too
long or introducing particles into the eye when removing or
putting them in.

A 2010 report from the US Food and Drug Administration says
that contact lens injury is the leading cause of emergency
department visits for 70,000 US children every year.

Children aged 11 years and over where the most affected group,
according to researchers and the most frequently reported
injuries associated with contact lens use were hemorrhage,
corneal contusions and abrasions, and conjunctivitis.

Take Vitamin E to Prevent Subconjunctival Hemorrhage
Caused By Diabetes

Diabetes damages many organs, including the blood vessels. It is
believed to do this through the toxic actions of high blood sugar.
Blood vessel damage can affect the eyes, including causing
subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Vitamin E can help. A 1999 study from Joslin Diabetes Center,
Boston, Massachusetts shows that Vitamin E may help to protect
people’s eyes when they have diabetes. The researchers looked
at 36 people with type 1 diabetes and 9 non-diabetic patients.

They concluded that oral vitamin E treatment was useful for
improving blood flow in the eyes and preventing damage to the
eyes caused by the disease.

Constipation Linked to Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

You may experience a subconjunctival hemorrhage when
straining on the toilet because you have constipation.

The first step to reducing your subconjunctival hemorrhage risk
due to constipation is to eat more
fiber-rich foods and drink more

You may also find relief from supplements like fenugreek seeds,
and flaxseed.

Psyllium is also a source of fiber that can help improve bowel
movements, according to a 2011 study from Leeds General
Infirmary in the UK. The study looked at the results of three trials
covering 283 adults and found psyllium effectively improved
bowel movements as compared to placebo.  

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Lifting heavy luggage or grocery bags is a
common cause of eye hemorrhage.