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Subconjunctival haemorrhage

Subconjunctival haemorrhageSubconjunctival (sub-con-junc-ti-val) haemorrhage (bleeding) is a common cause of a red eye. It happens when tiny blood vessels between the clear surface (the conjunctiva) and the white of your eye (the sclera) burst. It's harmless, although it can look alarming.

Subconjunctival haemorrhage doesn't hurt, and it doesn't affect your vision. It doesn't need treating and will usually clear up by itself in about two weeks.

Several things can cause a subconjunctival haemorrhage, including:

If you keep getting subconjunctival haemorrhages, or you get one and you haven't had your blood pressure checked recently, it's a good idea to see a doctor. You should also see a doctor if it's happened after an eye injury, or if you have bruising or bleeding somewhere else on your body.

Other things can cause red eyes as well, so if you aren't sure what's causing it, see your GP or optometrist to get it checked.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by Canterbury optometrists and clinical director, Ophthalmology, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed November 2019.

Page reference: 142132

Review key: HISCH-142132