Popped Blood Vessel in Eye – Signs, Symptoms, & Treatments

popped blood vessel in eye

Commonly known in the medical community as subconjunctival hemorrhages, developing a popped blood vessel in eye is typically a harmless condition which will resolve on its own. However, there are also various instances where this can be a sign of a much more advanced issue. On this page, we will break down everything that you need to know about this condition, including the steps for properly diagnosing yourself, the telling symptoms, and best treatment methods.

Popped Blood Vessel in Eye: Basic Background Information

popped blood vessel in eyeFor starters, a subconjunctival hemorrhage is a condition which is marked by the clear presence of blood in your eye. Due to the nature of the condition, it can quickly cause the victim to become fearful that they have a serious problem developing in their eye. This is very common, since after all, the eyes don’t usually have blood leakage like this. Thankfully, our eyes are very great at managing this problem on their own. In most instances, this issue won’t require medical attention.


A Very Common Problem

Just like it is common to cause your blood vessels to break and have a scrape on your skin, your eyes also contain blood vessels which can break. When blood vessels break, they bleed. When there is bleeding in your eyes, those blood vessels will naturally start to repair themselves unless the victim has a blood-clotting disorder. This is one example of a condition which can turn an otherwise harmless problem like a subconjunctival hemorrhage into something more complicated, but in general, there is no reason to worry.

Usually Not That Difficult to Fix

Although there are definitely instances where a popped blood vessel in your eye can require the attention of a medical professional and a clear treatment process, most cases are completely benign. In reality, the problem will usually go away on its own. For this reason, a medical professional will typically diagnose the problem and not recommend any sort of advanced treatment. Although there are various types of medicine to alleviate the problem, your eye will usually heal on its own.

Probably Won’t Require Medical Attention

As briefly mentioned, most cases of where a patient has a subconjunctival hemorrhage won’t immediately require the attention of a medical professional. In reality, you probably won’t even need to visit the doctor. Although we will describe instances where visiting a doctor should happen, the vast majority of those with a popped blood vessel in eye don’t actually need to do so. In other words, most people who are carefully trying to discover the implications of their popped blood vessel won’t have anything to worry about.

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What Causes a Popped Blood Vessel in Eye?

Typically, those who experience a popped blood vessel in their eye, it is because they have a sharp and sudden increase in blood pressure. Not able to handle the extra rush of blood flow, a blood vessel can be prone to popping. However, the cause of your popped blood vessel is what you will need to carefully account for before determining the severity and treatment methods. As we describe each of the common causes for a subconjunctival hemorrhage, we will also describe what the usual implications are for treatment and severity. Here are 10 of the most common causes of a popped blood vessel in one of your eyes.

1. Powerful Sneezing and/or Coughing

popped blood vessel in eyeIf you have been sick recently, you might have been sneezing and/or coughing more violently than normal. These sorts of violent bodily reactions are usually pretty normal and nothing to worry about, but can also cause blood vessels in your eyes to pop. If you know that this was the cause of your popped blood vessel, the issue will typically handle itself within a week or so. Next time you start sneezing and coughing, make sure to monitor your eyes and see if it happens again. If it becomes routine, go see a doctor.

2. Violent Vomiting

When we experience problems with nausea and vomiting, it is actually quite common for blood vessels to burst. This is caused by the violent and forceful expulsion of your stomach contents, which can test the physical capabilities in certain parts of your body. Specifically, the strength of your blood vessels’ walls. Although vomiting can commonly produce red spots on your face called petechiae resulting from popped blood vessels, blood vessels in your eyes can also pop open. They usually heal within a week or so.

3. Muscle Straining

popped blood vessel in eyeIf there is a job that you can’t physically handle, it’s usually best that you don’t even try to in the first place. One of the most common reasons that blood vessels can pop in your eyes is the result of excessive muscle straining. Your body isn’t invincible. When you test the limits of your body, you are also risking problems such as ruptured blood vessels in your eye. This is pretty similar to other common causes like vomiting, coughing, or sneezing. All of these causes are pretty common, and typically won’t require any sort of advanced treatment.

4. Accident or Trauma

If you have experienced some sort of traumatic injury to your eyes, one of the common injuries will be to the blood vessels. However, it is important to receive medical help if your eyes start to turn red after some sort of accident or traumatic injury. Since each case is completely different, an eye doctor is the best person to see if your eye is bleeding internally because of some sort of injury. In advanced cases, injury to your eyes can result in complete loss of vision. For this reason, those who injure their eyes need to go straight to the doctor for the best treatment advice and diagnosis.

5. Foreign Objects

This is one of the cases of subconjunctival hemorrhage which can be hard to pinpoint. Although most people who get something in their eye will immediately know when it happened and what caused it, there are also some times where something small like a tiny grain of sand can get into your eye and do some serious damage before the cause is pinpointed. If a foreign object is in your eye, the best thing you can do is have an eye doctor handle the issue. However, there are also many instances where a foreign object has been safely removed at home and it heals naturally. To be safe, just visit the doctor.

6. Contact Lenses

popped blood vessel in eyeIn the vast majority of cases where someone where contact lenses, there won’t be any issues that develop. However, contact lenses are also prone to causing infection in your eyes. Additionally, there have been various cases where a patient ended up with a ruptured blood vessel in their eyes which was caused by their contact lenses. If this happens to you, the best thing you can do is visit your eye doctor and determine why this happened. However, cases such as this are typically benign and will heal on their own.

7. Complications from Surgery

If you have surgery on your eyes, like Lasik, the vast majority of the procedures will be a complete success with no further issues. However, there are instances where the surgeon makes a small mistake, such as rupturing one of the blood vessels in your eye. Typically, a doctor will immediately know that this occurred, and inform you right away. However, if they don’t notice that this occurred, it is best that you go straight back in to see the same doctor. That way, you can ensure that the issue is benign, and won’t require any sort of advanced treatment to protect your vision.

8. Infection

Having a viral infection in your eyes (or conjunctivitis) is a common thing for us to have one point or another in our lives. Although most cases of eye infection will heal on their own, they can also produce some pretty severe problems along the way. In this case, infection has been targeted as a potential cause for subconjunctival hemorrhage. Although many people will have visited the doctor right when the infection developed in the first place, a popped blood vessel is a sign that you should do so if you haven’t already.

9. Side Effects from Medicine

popped blood vessel in eyeThe funny aspect of various prescription medicines is that there are so many potential side effects and problems that can develop without a doctor ever predicting that it would happen in the first place. After all, doctors are human and can make mistakes too, even if they are the best source for medical advice and treatment methods. There have been some cases where a patient develops subconjunctival hemorrhage after using medicine such as pain medicine or blood thinners. Since medicine can accidentally cause various problems in certain cases, doctors will typically ask each of their patients what medications they use.

10. Resulting from Other Complications

There are certain times where a patient who has a pre-existing condition can develop subconjunctival hemorrhages because of the other condition. If you are already being treated for a doctor for another relatively serious condition and develop a subconjunctival hemorrhage, make sure to see your doctor right away for advice, especially if you look through the common causes for subconjunctival hemorrhage and don’t see anything which hits close to home. It is possible to develop a subconjunctival hemorrhage from the natural result of another issue.

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Complications Which Can Cause a Popped Blood Vessel in Eye


Those who develop a subconjunctival hemorrhage after previously being diagnosed with diabetes should see the doctor right away. Even if you are pretty sure that your subconjunctival hemorrhage was caused by something other than your diabetes, it is important that your doctor becomes aware of the issue and documents it. Although the doctor will typically be able to handle the issue right away, they will need to ensure there isn’t any potential for things to get much worse.


Hypertension is a condition which you can have for years and years without noticing any sort of symptoms or even being diagnosed. However, this is a problem which heavily increases your risk of other issues such as heart attack and stroke. In this case, increased blood pressure in your eyes can even cause your blood vessels to pop. After all, they are only strong enough to handle a certain pressure of blood flow before their walls become compromised. If you have been diagnosed with hypertension previously and develop a subconjunctival hemorrhage, make sure to see a doctor right away.

Blood Clotting Disorders

Hopefully, those with a blood clotting disorder of some type will already know who they are. After all, this is a condition which is very serious. It can even be life-threatening. Since a blood clotting disorder means that you aren’t able to clot and heal common wounds, those who develop a subconjunctival hemorrhage alongside this condition need to receive medical attention right away. If the bleeding isn’t able to be stopped, further problems can quickly develop. Accordingly, this is a particular case of subconjunctival hemorrhage which can be very serious and urgent to handle.

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Symptoms of a Popped Blood Vessel in Eye

Determining whether or not you have a subconjunctival hemorrhage is easily done by a professional. In just about every case of subconjunctival hemorrhages, a doctor will immediately look at your eye and know what the issue is. After all, the symptoms are very easily noticed, and don’t typically imply that there is an additional issue present.

  • A red spot in your eye.
  • Internal bleeding in your eyes.
  • Loss of natural white color.

Although many subconjunctival hemorrhages can be noticed by a red spot in your eye, many people may not immediately pinpoint this being due to internal bleeding. When your eyes start to replace their natural white color with blotches of red, it is probably a subconjunctival hemorrhage. There might not be any sort of pain or discomfort present. Accordingly, many people don’t even notice that the issue until they look in the mirror or when somebody else tells them.

When to See a Doctor for a Proper Diagnosis

One of the most important points that we have tried to assert on this page is that a subconjunctival hemorrhage is more than likely completely harmless. In the vast majority of cases, there is absolutely no risk of further problems like vision loss. However, there are still various instances where those with a subconjunctival hemorrhage will need to see a doctor right away. Here are some of the most common instances like this.

If the Issue Was Caused by Injury or Trauma

Most people who have an eye injury of some sort will immediately be conscious of the problem and go straight to a doctor before they notice the subconjunctival hemorrhage. However, if you thought that the injury was minor, only to eventually discover a popped blood vessel in eye, you should definitely visit a doctor as soon as possible. Even though you will probably have nothing to worry about, this is one instance of subconjunctival hemorrhages which should be treated by a professional. This way, you can be completely sure that the problem gets handled without ever evolving out of control.

If it Persists for More than 10 Days

Since most cases of popped blood vessels in your eyes will heal on their own, the instances where this doesn’t happen should be handled by a doctor. Don’t worry, if you have a subconjunctival hemorrhage which lasts more than 10 days you are probably still going to be fine. However, you should know that your individual case is lasting a little longer than normal. In these circumstances, you’re better safe than sorry. Be sure to visit a doctor for advice the peace of mind that you need.

When the Issue Keeps Occurring

Although it is very natural and common for people to have a subconjunctival hemorrhage or two in their lives, those who are consistently developing this problem should definitely receive the advice of a professional. This way, you can be absolutely sure what causes your blood vessels to keep popping. Cases like this will typically involve some sort of treatment and action plan which helps them avoid this from happening as best as possible. However, these people will probably still have nothing to worry about other than a repetitive cosmetic nightmare.

Popped Blood Vessel in Eye: Typical Treatment Options

When you develop a subconjunctival hemorrhage, the vast majority of cases will handle themselves. During the healing process, though, there is nothing wrong with ensuring that you are doing everything that you possibly can to handle the issue efficiently. These are your eyes and sense of vision we’re talking about, after all.

No Treatment is Usually Necessary

If you develop a subconjunctival hemorrhage, a common piece of advice that eye doctors will give you is to sit and wait. After all, this is a condition which is very similar to scratching your arm or knee. Your body is completely qualified and capable of healing a popped blood vessel. However, those who have a blood clotting issue shouldn’t trust their eyes to heal on their own, and instead visit a doctor right away. However, the vast majority of subconjunctival hemorrhages cases will heal on their own within 7 – 10 days. As we mentioned, those who have symptoms which last longer than should visit the doctor.

Artificial Tears for Irritation

Although treatment isn’t necessary in most cases, there are some cases where a person with a subconjunctival hemorrhage also experiences some symptoms of discomfort. When cases like this occur, one of the best remedies for instant relief is artificial tears. Simply add a drop or two into the affected eye(s) when the irritation becomes uncomfortable. As the symptoms resurface, repeat the process until you notice that your subconjunctival hemorrhage has disappeared.


Additional Factors to Consider

When we develop any sort of bodily problem, there are certain risks and potential problems that will inevitably come along with it. Thankfully, most cases of a subconjunctival hemorrhage simply cause the person to become self-conscious about their “new look.” However, those who have a subconjunctival hemorrhage need to account for a couple other things. Specifically, how it will affect their daily routine and it is caused by something more severe.

Psychological Trauma & Problems

In most cases, those who have a subconjunctival hemorrhage will not have to worry about anything other than an immediate cosmetic problem. Although a cosmetic issue like one derived from a subconjunctival hemorrhage will only have temporary negative psychological effects, it is possible that something small like this can trigger an eruption of psychological problems. This can include things like depression, self-consciousness, and feeling unattractive.

Irritation in the Eyes

Although the many subconjunctival hemorrhage cases are painless, there are times where someone who suffers from this condition also has a considerable amount of irritation in the affected area. If this happens to you, touching or rubbing your eyes is the last thing to do. This is a scenario where the sufferer might choose to use a product like artificial tears to produce instant relief. The irritation (if any) that happens with subconjunctival hemorrhages will usually subside alongside the other symptoms.

The Presence of Further Complications

As we mentioned, there are certain instances where a subconjunctival hemorrhage can actually be caused by a completely different condition altogether. Then, there are certain conditions which, when paired with a subconjunctival hemorrhage, can be dangerous. Although the vast majority of subconjunctival hemorrhage cases are benign and harmless, the presence of further complications is one of the factors to account for and consider during the healing process.

Best Prevention Methods

Although a subconjunctival hemorrhage is normally benign and will heal on its own, it is also a condition which nobody will want to have a routine basis. Accordingly, it is important to understand the best ways to prevent an issue like this from ever occurring in the first place. Here are some of the best steps to take to ensure that you never develop a subconjunctival hemorrhage problem.

Routine Eye Exams

There are many benefits that come with routine eye exams. Especially if you have a common vision problem. For starters, the eye doctor will be able to keep your up-to-date with your latest vision prescription. In the worst-case scenario, an eye doctor will also be the first to notice if you are developing any sort of condition which can either produce a subconjunctival hemorrhage or amplify any sort of potential risks associated with having one.

Don’t Touch or Rub Your Eyes

There are many reasons why you shouldn’t touch or rub your eyes. They are a very sensitive part of your body and should be treated accordingly. As we mentioned, one of the reasons that we can pop blood vessels in our eyes is by accident. If you have allergies which are causing itchy eyes, as an example, resist the urge to touch or rub your eyes. Although you may feel like this will help, it won’t. In fact, it can even imply that you end up with a subconjunctival hemorrhage. Do yourself a favor and leave your eyes alone.

Blood Tests

It is possible for a bleeding disorder to cause some to develop a popped blood vessel in one of their eyes. Accordingly, you might consider getting a blood test to ensure that you don’t run into an advanced problem should you ever develop another subconjunctival hemorrhage. If anything, you will also receive the peace of mind that you don’t have a blood-clotting disorder. Or, even worse, the presence of another complication in your blood.

Keep Your Blood Pressure in Check

When your blood pressure starts to go up, it is usually due to natural occurrences like a cardio workout. However, high blood pressure or hypertension can also cause blood vessels to rupture. Although this is clearly a cause of subconjunctival hemorrhages which isn’t entirely common, it is possible. Accordingly, those who have hypertension and/or problems with subconjunctival hemorrhages should monitor their blood pressure and take steps to keep it at a normal level to avoid subconjunctival hemorrhages.

See a Doctor Whenever you Get Sick

A common reason that people develop a subconjunctival hemorrhage is that of violent coughing, sneezing, or vomiting. When actions like this produce a subconjunctival hemorrhage, the victim could have probably taken more steps to get themselves feeling better before it produced a ruptured blood vessel in eye. Accordingly, whenever you start to get sick you should immediately see a doctor and get the proper medication and treatment right away. Especially if you want to eliminate the potential for a subconjunctival hemorrhage.


Popped Blood Vessel in Eye: Summary & Best Treatment Methods

If you have a popped blood vessel in eye (subconjunctival hemorrhage), the issue will likely resolve itself. Since this issue is typically benign, the worst problems that the sufferer will face are those associated with how you look during the healing process. However, there are certain instances, such as having a blood-clotting disorder, which require you to see a doctor right away. However, the good news is that if you have a subconjunctival hemorrhage you will simply need to sit and wait for it to heal.


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