A subconjunctival hemorrhage (sub-con-JUNK-tih-vul HEM-er-ij) is a harmless red spot on the white of the eye.
The conjunctiva is a clear membrane covering the sclera (white part of eye) and lining the inside of the eyelids. It joins the cornea where the white of the eye joins the iris (colored ring).
Tiny blood vessels in the conjunctiva sometimes leak when a person sneezes, coughs, throws up, strains, rubs the eye, or receives a blow to the eye. Blood then collects between the conjunctiva and the sclera, leaving a bright red spot on the surface of the eye. This is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage. ("Subconjunctival" means "under the conjunctiva" and "hemorrhage" means "bleeding.")
A subconjunctival hemorrhage can look scary, but it doesn't cause pain or harm to the eye. No treatment is usually necessary. The spot may grow larger in the first 24 to 48 hours. Then it fades from red to yellow and disappears as the blood is absorbed back into the body. It usually takes about 1-3 weeks for the spot to go away completely.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
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