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Subconjunctival Hemorrhage: Care Instructions

Subconjunctival hemorrhage, with blood causing a large red area in white of eye


Sometimes small blood vessels in the white of the eye can break, causing a red spot or speck. This is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage. The blood vessels may break when you sneeze, cough, vomit, strain, or bend over. Sometimes there is no clear cause.

The blood may look alarming, especially if the spot is large. If there is no pain or vision change, there is usually no reason to worry, and the blood slowly will go away on its own in 2 to 3 weeks.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Watch for changes in your eye. It is normal for the red spot on your eyeball to change colour as it heals. Just like a bruise on your skin, it may change from red to brown to purple to yellow.
  • Do not take aspirin or products that contain aspirin, which can increase bleeding. Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) if you need pain relief for another problem.
  • Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of an eye infection, such as:
    • Pus or thick discharge coming from the eye.
    • Redness or swelling around the eye.
    • A fever.
  • You see blood over the black part of your eye (pupil).
  • You have any changes or problems in your vision.
  • You have any pain in your eye.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.