At some point, you might look into a mirror and see a red spot on one of your eyes. Although the sight appears distressing, the spot is not necessarily a serious medical problem. The spot forms when a fragile blood vessel beneath the conjunctiva ruptures and leaks blood. The condition is referred to as a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Hemorrhage Causes

The blood vessel break or rupture commonly occurs due to increased pressure in the eye. Sometimes the spot may occur for an unknown reason. The leakage might also occur when someone’s blood pressure rises. Other contributing factors include:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Eye injury
  • Infection
  • Physical straining
  • Rubbing the eye
  • Vomiting

Additional causes include:

  • Anticoagulant medications
  • Bleeding disorder
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Benign or cancerous growths categorized as actinic granulomas, conjunctival epitheliomas or keratoacanthoma. Unusual growths must be evaluated by a medical professional.
  • Conjunctival hemangioma refers to a group of abnormal blood vessels that sometimes develop on the sclera. The condition is typically benign although troubling in appearance.
  • Diabetic retinopathy refers to the condition when an ocular blood vessel ruptures secondary to high blood sugar levels. The blood often then causes floaters or dark spots in the diabetic’s visual field. The vision might also be blurred. Patients might experience a decrease in night vision. Colors might seem faded. Retinopathy is commonly the symptom that leads to diabetic’s to realize a problem exists.
  • Episcleritis involves inflammation of the episclera, which is the thin layer of tissue between the conjunctiva and the sclera. The layer contains a series of delicate blood vessels. The condition often resolves itself. However, up to one-third of the cases are due to inflammation in other body regions that require medical intervention.
  • Pinguecula refers to a growth on the sclera or a thickening of the outer layer of the sclera. The area often appears raised and yellow. When irritated by the sun, wind or debris, the area becomes reddened and swollen.
  • Sickle cell anemia is a genetic blood disorder involving abnormally shaped red blood cells. The shape, size and stiffness of the cells make it difficult to travel through fragile vessels and carry hemoglobin. Patients living with the disorder may develop what appears to be comma-shaped red lines on the sclera. These are abnormally shaped blood vessels. The eye might also develop red spots secondary to hemorrhage.