What is subconjunctival hemorrhage?

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Subconjunctival hemorrhage in children: Overview

Sometimes small blood vessels in the white of the eye can break, causing a red spot or speck. This is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage. The blood vessels may break when your child sneezes, coughs, vomits, strains, or bends over. Sometimes there is no clear cause.

The blood may look alarming, especially if the spot is large. If your child has no pain or vision change, there is usually no reason to worry, and the blood slowly will go away on its own in 2 to 3 weeks.

How can you care for your child's subconjunctival hemorrhage?

  • Watch for changes in your child's eye. It is normal for the red spot on the eyeball to change color as it heals. Just like a bruise on the skin, it may change from red to brown to purple to yellow.

Subconjunctival hemorrhage in children: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has signs of an eye infection, such as:
    • Pus or thick discharge coming from the eye.
    • Redness or swelling around the eye.
    • A fever.
  • You see blood over the black part of your child's eye (pupil).
  • Your child has any changes in or problems with vision.
  • Your child has any pain in the eye.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

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