Breaking of a small or minute blood vessel just beneath the clear surface of the eye, called conjunctiva, is termed as a subconjunctival hemorrhage.(1) The conjunctiva cannot absorb blood very fast, and so the blood gets trapped, and the eyes become red. One may not even realize they have a broken blood vessel in the eye or subconjunctival hemorrhage unless they look in the mirror and notice that the white part of their eyes has turned bright red. Subconjunctival hemorrhage or the breaking of a blood vessel in the eye often occurs without any apparent harm to the eye. Even a hard cough or sneeze can cause a blood vessel in the eye to rupture. But a blood vessel rupture in the eye is usually a harmless condition, which disappears within two weeks or so. Hence, subconjunctival hemorrhage often does not need to be treated.(1) Read on to know what causes a blood vessel to break in your eye, its treatment and how long does it takes to heal.
What Are The Causes Of A Broken Blood Vessel In The Eye?
The exact reason for breaking of a blood vessel in the eye cannot always be identified. However, some potential causes of broken blood vessel in the eye include: Eye trauma, eye rubbing, insertion of contact lenses, severe eye infection, and an increase in blood pressure due to violent coughing, sneezing, heavy lifting, or vomiting.(1)
Some people are more likely to suffer from popped blood vessels in the eyes than others. Risk factors for a rupture of blood vessel in the eye include hypertension, diabetes, blood clotting disorders, and certain blood-thinning medications like warfarin and aspirin.(1)
How is Broken Blood Vessel in the Eye Diagnosed & Treated; and How Long Does It Take To Heal?
The doctor generally diagnoses a broken blood vessel in the eye just by looking at your eye. No other tests are required. But in case of people who have recurrent subconjunctival hemorrhages, the doctor may also conduct an eye examination and inquire about the patient’s general health and symptoms, check their blood pressure, and order for routine blood tests to check for severe bleeding disorders.
The redness in the eye due to broken blood vessels goes away naturally in 1 or 2 weeks and needs no treatment.(1) Eye drops, such as artificial tears, can be used to soothe any scratchy feeling in the eyes. However, they do not repair any broken blood vessels. Rubbing the eye can raise the risk of excess bleeding just after onset, so rubbing the eyes should be avoided for as long as possible when suffering from broken blood vessel in the eye. Health complications rarely arise due to broken blood vessels in the eyes. If rupturing of the blood vessel was caused by trauma, the eye doctor would probably evaluate the eye to ensure that there are no other eye complications or injuries. If eye redness lasts for longer than two weeks and is also accompanied by pain or vision changes, the sufferer should visit an eye doctor immediately as this can be a sign of other eye problems.(1)
How Can Broken Blood Vessel In The Eye Be Prevented?
If the cause of bleeding has been identified, like a bleeding disorder or blood-thinning medication, the patient should ask their doctor about the steps they can to reduce the risk of a blood vessel rupture in the eye. If one needs to rub their eyes, they must rub them gently. Rubbing the eyes too hard can cause minor trauma to the eyes, which may lead to the breaking of a blood vessel in the eye.