If you notice a red spot on your eye, it can be disconcerting or even alarming. Fortunately, most of the things that can cause redness on your eyes are harmless. Even those causes that are worth a doctor’s appointment are not usually emergencies. Generally, a red spot on your eye is caused by a broken blood vessel. This is similar to a bruise on your skin, but it looks more shocking because the surface of your eye is transparent. You probably won’t experience any pain or light sensitivity, but it may be worth seeing a doctor of you don’t know why it happened, because there are several possible causes.
- An eye injury can often result in a red spot on the eye. Bleeding can occur if you’ve been poked in the eye or something has flown into it, or even if you rub your eyes a little bit too hard because of itchiness. If you work in a place where there’s likely to be flying debris, or you play a sport, it’s wise to wear protective eyewear.
- Temporarily high blood pressure can also cause a burst blood vessel in your eye. Did you know that straining can spike your blood pressure? When you cough, sneeze, throw up, or move your bowels, you can break some capillaries in your eyes. It can also happen when you’re lifting weights or giving birth.
- Sometimes a red spot can be a sign of diabetic retinopathy. It’s not common for a red spot to point to diabetic retinopathy, but it can happen. Retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss for people with diabetes, and it causes retinal blood vessels to leak or bleed. It’s extremely important for people with diabetes to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam every year, because diabetic retinopathy can be treated, but it can’t be reversed.
- Sometimes, your contact lenses are to blame. If a little piece of debris gets trapped behind your contact lens, it can irritate your eye. If you instinctively rub your eye in response, you may break a blood vessel. Don’t wear your contact lenses any longer than is recommended by your doctor, and wear sunglasses when you’re outside, to keep wind, dirt, and debris out of your eyes.
- Blood disorders can increase your risk of red spots on the eyes. Sickle cell disease, for instance, is caused by abnormally shaped blood cells that have problems moving hemoglobin and oxygen around the body. Sickle cell can cause dilated or abnormal blood vessels of the conjunctiva. Other blood clotting disorders that can cause red spots on the eyes include hemophilia and von Willebrand disease.
- Some medications can cause red spots on the eyes. This is true of aspirin, as well as blood thinners like heparin and warfarin.
If your eye spot is not troublesome, you may be able to treat it at home with eye drops and a cold compress. There are some cases, however, when it’s important to see your eye doctor. Seek professional help if the spot lasts for two weeks, your vision changes, you have eye discharge, your eye is swollen or hurts, or there seems to be something in your eye. If you have an unusual headache, you have diabetes or another medical condition that can affect the eyes, or red spots are appearing frequently, these are also reasons to seek eye care.
When you need eye care, trust the team at Northwest Eye Center, PC. We have the best ophthalmologists in the country, with well-trained, highly professional staff of certified ophthalmic technicians, certified opticians, LASIK consultants, and insurance and finance specialists. We pride ourselves on offering the best in customer service, personalized attention, state-of-the-art technology, and exceptional, compassionate patient care. Visit our website to make an appointment or contact us or call 303-720-7247 today!