Also known as subconjunctival hemorrhages, a number of causes of broken blood vessel in eye exist. The eyes are fragile and prone to a number of conditions. Fortunately, a broken blood vessel is among the least serious. These nine causes of broken blood vessel in eye are the most common.
1. Eye Trauma
Eye trauma is perhaps one of the most common and obvious causes of broken blood vessel in eye. This can occur when the eye is struck or a foreign object enters it. This can be something as major as having your face struck by a car door or something as minor as an eyelash getting into your eye.
If you suspect trauma is the cause of a burst blood vessel, go to an eye doctor to ensure there is not underlying or additional damage to your eye. Vigorously and continuously rubbing an eye can result in a burst blood vessel as well. If you must rub your eyes, do so gently and with clean hands to prevent infections.
2. Strenuous Activity
Running, jumping and weight lifting put pressure on the eyes and can cause the blood vessels in them to rupture. If this is an isolated case, you likely have nothing to worry about. If it is a continuous problem, both an eye doctor and your primary care physician should be consulted to make sure there is not an underlying condition.
There are gentler exercises you can try if you are bothered by the appearance of broken blood vessels in your eyes or your workout routine tends to create them. Mild to moderate exercise has many of the same health benefits as strenuous exercise.
3. Sudden Facial Pressure
The eyes can be damaged by sudden or continuous pressure from within the face and skull. This can be the result of violent coughing, sneezing, vomiting, blowing your nose or any similar activities. Getting sick can make these causes of broken blood vessel in eye more likely, as when you are sick these activities cannot be avoided. It can also be an issue for people with allergies or sinus problems.
4. Contact Lenses
Contact lenses can cause the blood vessels in your eye to rupture if the lenses begin to irritate your eyes. Rubbing the lenses can make the effects worse or even cause the broken blood vessel in the first place. If contact lenses continue to cause a problem for you, it might be best to switch to eye glasses or a different brand of contacts. You should certainly consult your eye doctor if contact lenses continue to be a cause of ruptured blood vessels.
5. Pink Eye
Pink eye is a common bacterial infection of the eye. Symptoms include itchiness, redness in the eye, continuous discharge from the eye and crust around the eye. It is highly contagious so it is best for individuals diagnosed with the condition to refrain from going to work or school. It is most common in children and teens although it can affect adults as well. Other eye infections can also result in subconjunctival hemorrhages.
6. Eye Work Or Surgery
Burst blood vessels can occur during or after eye surgery, particularly if it involved your eyelid. This can upset some patients, who might not be as satisfied with the surgery if their vision problem is fixed but they have become unsightly to look at. You can ask your eye surgeon to take preventative measures if you tend to easily get subconjunctival hemorrhages.
If the red spot is painful or does not go away, you should return to your eye surgeon to have him or her look at it. Otherwise, it is an unfortunate side effect of the surgery that will likely go away on its own in a couple of weeks.
7. High Blood Pressure
Underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure can result in ruptured blood vessels in the eyes. While stress alone is not considered to be among the causes of broken blood vessel in eye, high blood pressure is. High blood pressure can result in a number of other, more serious conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes.
If high blood pressure is determined to be the cause of frequent broken blood vessels in the eyes, an appointment should be made with your primary care physician to manage the underlying cause.
Certain medications, such as blood thinners, can make burst blood vessels in the eye more likely. This is true for any medication that affects the circulatory system or bloodstream. Over the counter painkillers such as aspirin, especially in large doses, can also have this effect.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can make the bleeding worse or prevent it from getting better if taken before the broken blood vessel can clear up. Specific medications that are known to be among the causes of broken blood vessel in eye include warfarin (Coumadin), Plavix and even high doses of supplements such as fish oil or vitamin E.
9. Other Disorders
Although rare, certain blood-clotting disorders and diabetes can also cause broken eye blood vessels. Depending on where in the eye the blood is found, the diagnosis of the condition will vary. A subconjunctival hemorrhage occurs and remains in the white of the eye. However, bleeding that is in or spreads to the iris is a greater cause for concern.
This is called a hyphema, and they are not always visually apparent. Unlike subconjunctival hemorrhages, hyphemas often come with additional symptoms, such as eye pain and loss of vision. An eye doctor needs to be consulted if you feel pain or experience vision loss. However, overall, the causes of broken blood vessel in eye are frequently not known.
Symptoms of a broken blood vessel in the eye include a bright red spot in the white of the eye. Anyone who has experienced these symptoms or one of the potential causes should consult a qualified eye doctor if the condition is concerning to them. Fortunately, the condition is usually harmless and will often go away on its own.