University of Iowa Health Care

Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Subconjunctival hemorrhage

Contributor: Jesse Vislisel, MD

Photographer: Toni Venckus, CRA

Subconjunctival hemorrhages, also known as hyposphagma, occur when there is bleeding into the potential space between the conjunctiva and sclera. This can occur secondary to any activity resulting in a Valsalva maneuver (coughing, sneezing, straining, vomiting), after ocular surgery or trauma, as a result of certain types of viral conjunctivitis, or spontaneously. Individuals on anticoagulation, those with systemic vascular disease (hypertension, diabetes, arteriosclerosis), and those with systemic conditions causing decreased coagulability are more prone to developing this condition. It is typically asymptomatic and resolves spontaneously.


Tarlan B, Kiratli H. Subconjunctival hemorrhage: risk factors and potential indicators. Clin Ophthalmol. 2013;7:1163-70.

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last updated: 3/3/2014
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