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Broken Blood Vessel

in Eye

Q.    Is there anything you can do for a broken blood vessel in the eye?

If the broken blood vessel causes blood to accumulate in the front of the eye, between the cornea and pupil/iris, this condition is called a hyphema and warrants immediate medical attention.   If the broken blood vessel is inside the eye, for example related to diabetes (diabetic retinopathy) or to another retinal condition such as age-related macular degeneration, treatment may be available and immediate medical attention is needed, so see your eye doctor ASAP.

 

Q.    What causes red eye?

Red eye is caused when the blood vessels of the eye swell with more blood than usual.  Red eye may be associated with:

  1. Infection, including AIDS
  2. Allergic or chemical reaction
  3. Glaucoma
  4. Fatigue
  5. More serious disease
  6. Need for glasses

A person with red eye should see an Eye Doctor if:

  1. There is pain
  2. See floaters
  3. Loss of vision
  4. Caused by injury
  5. There is discharge from the eye
  6. Swelling or redness of the eye lid(s)
  7. Cloudy cornea
  8. Unequal pupil size
  9. Presence of bright red blood in the eye, between the cornea and iris
Q.    What is CRVO and what can be done about it?

CRVO stands for Central Retinal Vein Occlusion.   CRVO as well as occlusion of one or more of the central vein branches causes various degrees of vision loss depending on the extent and locus of the occlusion.    Upstream from the occlusion venous dilation and mild hemorrhages may be observed by the eye doctor.  There also may be swelling and so-called "cotton-wool" spots in the back of the eye (retina).  A percentage of patients will also develop neovascularization (i.e., growth of abnormal blood vessels) of the iris and, as a result,  develop glaucoma.  Most patients with CRVO are elderly and their eye problems are associated with arteriosclerosis.  Recovery of vision is dependent on the extent and location of retinal hemorrhages.  If glaucoma develops, the eye may have to be enucleated (removed).

Although there is no effective cure for CRVO, depending on conditions the eye doctor may use steroids to control edema (swelling) of the central retina (macula).   Anticoagulants have also been employed to reduce/prevent the chance of iris neovascularization and associated glaucoma.  However, it appears that the use of anticoagulants are no longer considered effective for treatment/prevention.  Finally, photocoagulation (i.e., laser surgery) may be used to treat the abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina and to prevent retinal edema and subsequent loss of central vision.  The eye doctor may also run certain blood, urine and stool tests tests while the patient is taking anticoagulants.   Because of the dangers and seriousness of CRVO, the patient must been seen regularly by the eye doctor and must keep all of his or her appointments.

 

Q.    Blood in eye.

Blood in the front part of the eye between the cornea and the pupil/iris is called a hyphema and warrants immediate medical attention.  A hyphema can lead to the sudden onset of glaucoma and permanent loss of vision in the eye.

 

Q.    I have red veins surrounded by yellow in the whites of my eyes from the iris to the inner edge.  I have Grave's disease and Fibromyalgia.  These veins have been there for two years now.   Some days they get real bad and my vision gets fussy for a few hours.  I am amblyopic and my good eye is worse than my lazy eye.  What causes this?

We assume that you're being regularly seen by your eye doctor, if not you should be.  Patients with Grave's disease show varying degrees of exophthalmos or protruding eyes.  Because the eyes protrude outward there is increased surface area of the eye exposed to air and, as a consequence, the eyes tend to dry-out as in dry eye disease.  A sign of dry eye disease is red appearing eyes.  The redness is cause by irritation resulting in the blood vessels being gorged with blood and then become more noticeable.  If your vision is temporarily being affected as you indicate, this may be due to the excessive drying of the cornea but may also be related to the pressure placed on the eyes by the Grave's disease.  See your eye doctor about these problems, particularly about the periods fuzzy vision.

 

Q.    What causes small red spots on the white part of the eye?

Bright red spot(s) on the white part of the eye are probably subconjunctival hemorrhage(s).  These are caused by a number of things including injury or may develop spontaneously in older adults.  You should see an Ophthalmologist for a diagnosis and treatment if applicable.

 

Q.   Hi, I have this problem where my eyes are constantly bloodshot. I donít have particularly dry eyes. They are the worst when I wake up and before I go to bed. I use over the counter eye drops which only mildly help for a few hours. What could be causing this? I have had this problem for quite sometime. There is nothing foreign (i.e. not conjuctivitus) in my eyes and it is equally bad in both eyes. Please help!

Very few dry eye disorders cause a daily variation that you describe that is also associated with bloodshot eyes, except meibomitis and meibomian gland dysfunction.  Patients with meibomitis often complain of burning, bloodshot eyes in the morning.  This is because there is decreased tear secretion at night and inflammatory processes serve to create eye irritation on awaking.  As the disease progresses, there is increased tear evaporation during the day which causes the symptoms to again appear in the evening hours.  Thus the morning and evening problems with the eyes.  And, as in your case, lubricating eye drops only provide temporary relief.  Because you've had this problem for some time, there may be continuing damage to the meibomian gland.   See an eye doctor, preferably one that specializes in dry eye disorders for evaluation and treatment, if applicable. 

A Note on Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetes is a serious disease and patients with diabetes MUST see an eye doctor on a regular basis (e.g., every 6 months) or based on your eye doctor's recommendations.  In diabetes, abnormal, small fragile blood vessels inside the eye can form and eventually leak and break - causing an immediate loss of vision in the affected eye.  Treatment can be instituted BEFORE the abnormal blood vessels leak or break, but it is absolutely important to see an eye doctor BEFORE the leak or breaking occurs.  Once the blood vessels leak and break, it may be too late to save vision in the affected eye.  If you have diabetes, DO NOT TAKE A CHANCE - see an eye doctor on a regular basis.  If you fail to follow this advice, only you have to blame for your eventual blindness.  The choice is yours - an eye exam or a pilot dog.

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