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A subconjunctival hemorrhage is leaking of blood from a small blood vessel in the eye into the area between the conjunctiva and the sclera (the white of the eye). A subconjunctival hemorrhage may be caused by an eye injury or infection, or may develop as a result of coughing, sneezing, straining, or any other activity that increases the pressure in the blood vessels in the head and neck. A subconjunctival hemorrhage also may be associated with taking blood thinners. Sometimes a subconjunctival hemorrhage occurs suddenly, for no obvious reason.


In most cases, a subconjunctival hemorrhage is harmless and the red patch goes away on its own after about a week. However, if the patch results from an injury or is painful, call your doctor right away. You may have a serious eye injury or an underlying disorder that needs treatment. If you are taking anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners), talk to your doctor as soon as possible. He or she may need to reduce the dosage of the drug or prescribe another anticoagulant.

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