What causes retinal bleeding?


Quick Answer

The causes of retinal bleeding include diabetes, thrombocytopenia, leukemia, trauma and hypertension, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Bleeding sites include deep capillaries, small veins, large superficial retinal veins, choroidal vessels and superficial retinal vessels. A retinal hemorrhage is described by its appearance, which includes dot, flame and boat.

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Full Answer

Poorly controlled diabetes increases the risk of diabetic retinopathy, which is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the retina. As of August 2014, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in Americans age 20 to 74, states MedlinePlus. Symptoms that develop after blood vessel damage result in dot or vitreous hemorrhage, which is bleeding into the vitreous fluid in the eye.

Thrombocytopenia and anemia cause dot, flame and boat hemorrhages. The concurrent presence of low platelet count with severe anemia makes retinal bleeding likely, reports the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Leukemic retinopathy can result in intraretinal, subhyaloid or white-centered retinal hemorrhages, which may cause blurred or decreased vision. These hemorrhages are generally associated with leukemia-induced thrombocytopenia or anemia.

Headaches and vision problems can indicate hypertensive retinopathy, which is characterized by narrowing of blood vessels, retinal bleeding and cotton wool spots on the retina, according to WebMD. Treatments and prevention of hypertensive retinopathy include optimal-weight maintenance, regular exercise and a strict medication regimen.

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