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Blood in the Eye (Hyphema)

  • Overview

    Hyphema refers to blood collecting in the anterior chamber of the eye, the front section of the eye's interior where fluid flows in and out and provides nourishment to the eye and surrounding tissues.

    • A hyphema is usually caused by a trauma to the eye, and blood is seen in the eyeball. This is a medical emergency, and immediate medical care is necessary.
    • Symptoms of hyphema include blood that’s visible in the eye following some type of trauma to the eye or surrounding area.
    • Most children with a hyphema are treated in an emergency room. A physician who specializes in comprehensive eye care, called an ophthalmologist, may also be involved in your child’s care.
    • In some cases, the eye will bleed again after treatment. Other complications include glaucoma, vision loss and damage to surrounding eye structures.

    »
    Children's Hospital Boston
    300 Longwood Avenue
    Boston MA 02115

     617-355-6401


  • In-Depth

    Hyphema refers to blood collecting in the anterior chamber of the eye, the front section of the eye's interior where fluid flows in and out and provides nourishment to the eye and surrounding tissues.

    What causes a hyphema?

    A hyphema is usually caused by a trauma to the eye, and blood is seen in the eyeball. This is a medical emergency, and immediate medical care is necessary.

    What are the symptoms of a hyphema?

    Symptoms of hyphema include blood that’s visible in the eye following some type of trauma to the eye or surrounding area.

    Because the symptoms of hyphema may resemble other eye conditions or medical problems, you should always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

  • Tests

    How is a hyphema diagnosed?

    Diagnosis is usually made after a complete medical history and physical examination of your child's eye.

  • Most children with a hyphema are treated in an emergency room. A physician who specializes in comprehensive eye care, called an ophthalmologist, may also be involved in your child's care.

    Treatment may include:

    • eye drops
    • a patch over the affected eye
    • bed rest
    • a ban on reading to limit eye movement
    • elevating the head of your child's bed to about 40 degrees, which helps the body reabsorb the blood in the eye
    • daily checks of the pressure inside the eye

    Can there be complications with a hyphema?

    In some cases, the injury may bleed again. Other possible complications include:

    • Glaucoma or an increase in the pressure inside of the eye. If found, glaucoma must be closely monitored; increased pressure may cause loss of vision or blindness if untreated.
    • Loss of vision
    • Damage to different structures in the eye
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