The conjunctiva is the thin, moist, transparent membrane that covers the white part of the eye (called the sclera) and the inside of the eyelids. The conjunctiva is the outermost protective coating of the eyeball.
The conjunctiva contains nerves and many small blood vessels. These blood vessels are usually barely visible but become larger and more visible if the eye is inflamed. These blood vessels are somewhat fragile and their walls may break easily, resulting in a subconjunctival hemorrhage (bleeding under the conjunctiva). A subconjunctival hemorrhage appears as a bright red or dark red patch on the sclera. This does not require treatment and will resolve spontaneously in 3-6 weeks.
The following can occasionally result in a spontaneous subconjunctival hemorrhage:
- Intravitreal Injections. Occasionally, a small blood vessel can break and causing some bleeding may occur. It’s not harmful to the eye or vision.
- Increasing the pressure in the veins of the head, as in weightlifting
- Eye rubbing or inserting contact lenses
- Certain infections of the outside of the eye (conjunctivitis) where a virus or a bacteria weaken the walls of small blood vessels under the conjunctiva
- Medical disorder causing bleeding or inhibiting normal clotting.