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What causes a subconjunctival hemorrhage?

The most common causes are coughing, sneezing, straining or any similar action that temporarily raises blood pressure in the veins, leading to a small rupture in a blood vessel or capillary. Subconjunctival hemorrhage can also occur because of trauma to the eye, even minor trauma such as rubbing the eye vigorously.

Other common but less frequent causes of subconjunctival hemorrhage include diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure and excessive amounts of certain medications such as aspirin or blood thinners like warfarin (Coumadin®), which affect the body’s bleeding mechanisms.

Much less frequent to rare causes may include blood clotting disorders or other systemic blood disorders.

If you have recurrent or excessive subconjunctival hemorrhages, your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) will perform a medical workup, assess your risk factors, and order appropriate laboratory studies, sometimes in collaboration with your primary care physician.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.