A painless (yet scary looking!) occurrence can happen when a small blood vessel breaks in the eye, creating a red spot on your eye. Before you rush to your eye doctor with the fear that your “eye is bleeding,” explore some commonly asked questions regarding red spots on your eye to give you a little peace of mind if it happens to you!

What is the red spot on my eye?

The sclera is the white part of our eye, and it is covered by a thin, clear tissue called the conjunctiva. When a tiny vessel breaks underneath the conjunctiva, this is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage. They usually present as a red spot on the white of your eye. Typically, these red spots do not cause any pain, discharge or change in your vision, and they can appear to be more severe than they really are.

What caused this red spot (broken blood vessel) on my eye?

These broken blood vessels can be the result of events such as eye trauma, injury or eye surgery. More commonly, however, they are the result of many spontaneous occurrences, such as strenuous coughing, vomiting, sneezing, heavy lifting or eye rubbing. A majority of the time an optometrist is unable to pinpoint the exact cause of the red spot on your eye, or the patient can’t remember how it may have occurred. Patients who are on blood thinning medications tend to have a higher risk for these small hemorrhages, so inform your doctor if you are on any medications.

How long will it take for this broken blood vessel to clear up?

It can typically take about 10 days for red spots on your eyes to completely clear up, and sometimes they may begin to look worse before they get better.

Is there any treatment for these broken vessels?

The only way to treat red spots on your eyes is time. Think of it as a bruise on your eye. Bruises take time to heal and disappear, which means that a red spot on your eye will only heal with time.

Do I need to see my eye doctor if this happens to me?

It is always recommended that you see your eye doctor when you notice any changes in your eyes just to be sure it isn’t anything more serious. There is no way to be 100% certain of what is going on until your eye is evaluated in the office.

Whether you have red spots on the whites of your eyes, or just need a routine vision check-up, Dr. Mills, a licensed optometrist at Providence Eye, is accepting new general eye care patients. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.