Blood in the White Part of the Eye

Blood in the White Part of the Eye in Olympia

Blood in the White Part of the Eye

If you see blood in the white part of the eye, known medically as a subconjunctival hemorrhage, it may look alarming but in fact it almost always is harmless. It simply is a small blood vessel in the eye that popped. It could be caused by a variety of reasons, some as mild as coughing or sneezing, and it usually passes on its own within two weeks or so.

Schedule an appointment with your eye doctor if the red spot doesn’t go away within 2-3 weeks, if you are in pain or are experiencing changes in your vision, if there’s more than one red spot or if the blood is located in the colorful part of your eye, known as the iris.

American Family Vision Clinic

Symptoms and Causes

A red spot in the white part of the eye is usually not accompanied by any other symptoms, other than a possible scratchy feeling on the surface of your eye. 

The blood vessel that popped is right under the conjunctiva which is a clear membrane that covers the surface of the eye and contains lots of small blood vessels. The blood is not in an area of the eye that affects your vision and that’s why this condition should not cause any changes in your vision. The red spot on your eye may get bigger within a day or two but then it usually starts turning a more yellowish hue as the eye begins to absorb the blood.

The most common causes of a subconjunctival hemorrhage are:

  • Very strong sneezing or coughing
  • Strain 
  • Vomiting 

Sometimes it could result from other factors such as:

  • Rubbing your eye in a rough manner
  • Something stuck in your eye
  • Contact lenses
  • Virus
  • Surgery 

Less common causes are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Certain blood thinning medications
  • Blood clotting conditions

The chances of getting a subconjunctival hemorrhage increase after age 50 since it’s more common in this age group to develop diabetes or high blood pressure, however these illnesses are considered to be uncommon causes for a red spot in the eye.

If you notice these symptoms or experience changes in your vision and find it difficult for you to perform your daily activities, please schedule an eye exam with our eye doctor in Olympia.


A red spot in your eye is not always something that can be prevented, however there are certain recommendations of precautions that can be takes such as:

  • Be careful to rub your eyes very gently
  • Take good care of your contact lenses to make sure that they are properly cleaned
  • Wear proper protective gear to prevent eye injury
  • If you have a bleeding disorder, try to keep it under control and you can discuss with your healthcare provider what to do to try to prevent a subconjunctival hemorrhage


There is no treatment or method to speed up the natural healing of most subconjunctival hemorrhages. Your eye doctor may recommend using artificial tears to help with discomfort. If the bleeding appeared due to an underlying cause or condition, then the proper treatment will be provided to deal with the cause.

Common Questions

You can take a deep breath of relief because a red spot in the eye looks so much scarier than it really is. It almost always is harmless as it’s just a popped blood vessel right under the surface of the eye. You can schedule an appointment with your eye doctor who can check to make sure that there are no underlying conditions which very rarely could be the cause for a red spot in the eye. Most often the appearance of blood at the front of the eye will go away on its own in approximately two weeks or so.
A red spot in the eye can appear without any apparent cause for it. It could be a result of coughing or sneezing too hard so there isn’t really a way to usually prevent the appearance of a red spot in the eye, but there are certain precautions that could be taken in order to prevent more uncommon causes for it. These tips include being careful not to rub your eyes too hard, wear protective gear if your eyes are at risk for an injury and keep your contact lenses clean. Also, if you have a bleeding disorder, consult with your doctor how to keep it under control.
There are many reasons why you may have a red spot or blood spot in your eye. Subconjunctival hemorrhages vary from a small dot to looking like your whole eye is bleeding under the lens. This is caused by a burst blood vessel and is very similar to a bruise. However, the reason why so many people are scared by a bruise in your eye is that it is significantly more visible because it is under the clear and transparent conjunctiva in front part of your sclera. Potential causes include: An eye injury that causes your blood vessels to burst Rubbing your eyes causing a rupture of a blood vessel which leads to a blood spot in your eye Straining from constipation or lifting something heavy can cause burst capillaries A strong sneeze or cough Blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia Frequent usage of blood thinners such as aspirin and interferon While a blood spot in the eye usually means that there is internal bleeding in your eye, also known as subconjunctival hemorrhage, it is generally not something that you should worry about. Though the eye may look frightening, there should be no change in vision, discharge, or pain. Please contact our clinic at (360) 491-2121 if the blood does not go away after 2 or 3 weeks, if you are experiencing pain or vision problems, or if you have more than one subconjunctival hemorrhage.
Blood in the White Part of the Eye
Dr. Zurcher cartoon


When there is blood in the white part of the eye, it tends to look much more alarming than it actually is. It is usually harmless and will go away without requiring treatment. However, if you have any questions or concerns or if you are in pain or there’s changes with your eyesight, please schedule an appointment at our office. Our eye doctor has extensive experience helping people with this condition in our city. You can schedule an eye exam with our eye doctor by calling (360) 491-2121. Patients who need urgent eye care visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of medical eye care services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey.


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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