Treatment for broken blood vessels in the eye

Updated February 21, 2017

A broken blood vessel in the eye, or subconjunctival haemorrhage, is a harmless condition where a blood vessel bursts in the eye. Though it might look scary, a subconjunctival haemorrhage will cause very little discomfort and does not affect vision.


According to the Mayo Clinic, a subconjunctival haemorrhage will resolve on its own in 10 to 14 days. No medication is required to heal the condition, and nothing can be done to speed up the recovery process. The eye just needs time to absorb the blood from the burst vessel. If there is a scratchy feeling or discomfort from the subconjunctival haemorrhage, you may want to use some eye drops or artificial tears to soothe the symptoms.


In most situations the causes of subconjunctival haemorrhage are not known. Most of the time the condition will just appear, and many people do not even know it until they look in the mirror. However, situations where strain is put on the body may cause a blood vessel to burst. These types of trauma include strong vomiting, powerful sneezing or coughing or lifting something heavy.


Because most causes are unknown, there is very little you can do to prevent a subconjunctival haemorrhage. Avoiding things that can put strain on the body is one way to prevent broken blood vessels caused by trauma. Also, in some people who take too much blood thinning medicine, the tendency for blood vessels to burst is elevated. If you notice blood in your eye, you may want an ophthalmologist to examine you. In most cases, the doctor can diagnose subconjunctival haemorrhage by sight and not require any further tests.

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About the Author

David Harris is a writer living in Portland, Ore. He currently is the editor-in-chief of the online magazine Spectrum Culture. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College.