A red spot on the eye can be scary, it may be caused when one or more tiny blood vessels in your eyes have broken and leaked and the condition is called a subconjunctival haemorrhage. It can develop after something as simple as a sudden cough or a sneeze.
Conjunctiva is a clear membrane that covers the eye surrounded by tiny blood vessels. When any one of the blood vessels breaks open, the blood has no place to move but gets trapped underneath the conjunctiva. However, it doesn’t involve the inside of the eye or cornea, hence vision is not affected.
It’s quite normal to be worried if you observe redness that appears suddenly and wonder what could have caused it. Generally, it is harmless and settles on its own without any treatment.
You may not even know that a blood vessel has broken until you see it in a mirror. You would not have any symptoms like vision changes, discharge or pain, but may have a scratchy feeling on the surface of the eyes. Sometimes the red spot may enlarge over 24 to 48 hours, then you may slowly have pain or vision problems or it will gradually turn yellow as the eye absorbs the blood. If the red spot doesn’t settle in a week or two or if you had anywhere inside the iris of your eye, then seek immediate medical care.
Subconjunctival Hemorrhage Causes
Red spot often develop when your blood pressure rises because of:
Continuous heavy sneezing
Some red spots result from an injury or illness, such as:
Harsh rubbing of eye
Use of contact lenses
Less common causes include:
High blood pressure
Blood clotting disorders
A bloody spot in the eye is not caused due to stress, while in most cases, these are only cosmetically bothering but go away and do not hinder normal eyesight.
If the red spot lasts for a week then seek immediate medical care. The physician will just look at your eye to determine the cause of the subconjunctival haemorrhage. A complete eye exam is done to assess overall well-being, including any injuries or comorbid medical condition. Your healthcare provider will also check blood pressure and examine the eyes with a device called a slit lamp. In addition, certain blood works are suggested to rule out any serious bleeding disorder.
Usually, most red spots heal on their own without any treatment. However, if the haemorrhage is large it may take a few days to weeks for the red spot to heal. Artificial tears or cold compresses are suggested to keep the eye comfortable and ease irritation or dryness in case of any tissue damage caused due to a larger subconjunctival haemorrhage.
You should not be worried if the red spot changes colour from red to yellow or orange, as this is an indication that the haemorrhage is healing. Like any other bruise, it may slowly fade away over time.