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Blood in the eye: how it happens and what to do about it

A vein bursts and a small amount of blood rushes into the eye. But not everything that is called a burst vein in everyday language is actually one thing: If the entire eye is evenly reddened, no blood has escaped, but the blood vessels in the eye have only widened - for example as a result of irritation, inflammation or simply because of exhaustion.

If there is really blood in the eye, this can usually be recognized by the fact that a clearly delimited, deep red spot in the affected eye shows up. The rest of the eye retains its typical white color. This is usually not painful, and visual disturbances usually do not occur either. The doctor calls this phenomenon Hyposphagma.

How does bleeding occur in the eye?

Bleeding under the conjunctiva can have many causes. Typically, it occurs when the blood vessels of the head suddenly and temporarily under unusually high pressure stand.

This is characteristic in the following cases:

  • when sneezing heavily
  • Severe cough caused by an illness, such as whooping cough
  • when straining during labor

The sensitive veins in the eye are not at all prepared for this sudden increase in pressure - and not far enough to withstand it unscathed. It can happen that a blood vessel bursts and then, visible to us, some blood ends up in the eye. But even if the blood vessels are permanent having to cope with too much pressure, this can be expressed by blood in the eye. High blood pressure stresses the blood vessels throughout the body - a minimal trigger can be enough to burst a vein in the eye.

What to do if there is blood in the eye

Who one Hit the eye got or from one Fall on the eye If you have been injured and you have observed bleeding, you should definitely see a doctor. The bleeding itself is not dangerous in most cases, but unrecognized injuries are. Even if not much can be seen from the outside: Only the ophthalmologist can examine the eye and the surrounding areas sufficiently to give the all-clear - or treat any damage that has occurred. Long-term effects that can result from untreated injuries to the eyes are, for example:

  • Retinal detachments
  • Green Star
  • Cataract

A sick eye can bleed as well: If conjunctivitis is left untreated, blood may appear in the eye. The inflammation puts so much stress on the conjunctiva and blood vessels that injuries can easily occur. As a rule, however, pain, itching and sticky eyes are also part of the symptoms.

Serious illnesses can also be behind it

Also Diseases affecting the blood and less so the eye itself, can appear through blood in the eye.

Warning signs such as frequent burst veins in the eye without previous exertion and additional nosebleeds should not be ignored under any circumstances. If the blood only disappears after a long time or not at all, the alarm bells should also ring. Because then the coagulation of the blood can be disturbed.
Normally, the processes in the body are precisely coordinated with a bleeding injury. Messenger substances, platelets and the coagulation factors work together according to an exact planto stop the bleeding. If something is mixed up in this chain, the blood clotting may be excessive or - as can be the case with blood in the eye - too little or too slow. If, for example, coagulation factors or platelets are missing, the tendency to bleed increases. Because it can then lead to life-threatening internal bleeding, the Suspected coagulation disorder always be clarified by a doctor.

One an acute emergency is the glaucoma attack If the blood in the eye occurs together with severe nausea or vomiting, visual disturbances, pain in the eye area and similar complaints, you should not waste any time and consult an ophthalmologist immediately. All of these signs indicate that the Intraocular pressure greatly increased is - as it can be the case, for example, with a glaucoma attack.

A glaucoma attack poses a high risk for maintaining eyesight. The symptoms do not announce themselves gradually as in typical glaucoma, but occur violently and suddenly on. The aqueous humor can no longer drain and builds up in the eye - the intraocular pressure can even rise by more than three times its normal value. If the glaucoma attack is not treated in time, permanent damage to the optic nerve is very likely.

Bottom line on blood in the eye

Most of the time, the blood in the eye disappears on its own and without serious consequences for the person concerned. After two weeks at the latest shouldn't be any more of it to be seen. Gentle cooling of the eye, for example with a cooling compress, can support the healing process. If the bleeding does not improve on its own or if new ones occur frequently, you should definitely consider seeing a doctor. The ophthalmologist or general practitioner can look for the triggers and, if necessary, treat you with suitable medication or other therapy options tailored to the cause.

If Jenni Graf could see blood, she would have become a doctor - but since that is unfortunately not the case, she has opted for the much bloodier profession of medical editor. After studying medical journalism, she joined kanyo in 2016®.
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