Hyphema (Bleeding in the eye)

Hyphema (Bleeding in the eye)

What is a hyphema?

A hyphema is a collection of blood inside the front part of the eye (called the anterior chamber), between the cornea (front clear surface of the eye) and the iris (the colored part of the eye).

What causes a hyphema?

A hyphema is usually caused by trauma to the eye.
Hyphema can also be caused by other, less common things, including:

  • Abnormal blood vessels on the surface of the iris (the colored part of the eye)
  • Eye infections caused by a herpes virus
  • Blood clotting problems
  • Cancers of the eye

What are the symptoms of a hyphema?

Hyphema symptoms include:

  • Bleeding in the front of the eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Pain    
  • Blurry, clouded or blocked vision depending on the size of the hyphema

How is a hyphema diagnosed?

An Ophthalmologist (Eye doctor) diagnoses a hyphema by performing a complete eye exam. This exam includes testing how well your child can see (a visual acuity test), checking the pressure inside their eye, and looking at the inside of the eye with a special microscope called a slit lamp.

How is a hyphema treated?

Treatment of a hyphema involves encouraging the blood to clear (by getting reabsorbed into the eye), treating any increase in pressure around the eye, and trying to prevent additional bleeding.
The doctor will place your child on bed rest for a few days which will allow the eye to heal.
Keep your child's head in an elevated position even when they go to sleep.
The eye will also need to be covered with an eye patch.
The doctor may prescribe medicine, such as eye drops to help decrease inflammation and to help with pain. DO NOT give your child any medicine without speaking to their doctor first.
Sometimes a child may need to be admitted to the hospital to monitor their condition.

Will my child need surgery for a hyphema?

If the blood does not clear with medical treatment, or there is a rise in pressure inside the eye, surgery will be needed to remove the blood.
Surgery is more likely to be needed in patients with sickle cell anemia or those carrying the blood trait for this condition.

Are there any long term effects from a hyphema?

The blood from a hyphema can clog the drainage canal of the eye causing a rise in intraocular pressure (pressure inside the eye). Intraocular pressure that last for a long time can lead to glaucoma and permanent optic nerve (Eye nerve) damage. This can be more common in those patients with sickle cell anemia.

If you have any questions or concerns:

Please contact Sidra eye clinic.