Bleeding in the eye could be a hyphema or a subconjunctival hemorrhage, according to Dr. Ed Pullen. A hyphema usually blocks the visual field and is a medical emergency, while a subconjunctival hemorrhage does not typically affect vision and clears up within a few weeks.
A hyphema occurs due to blunt force to the eye, notes eMedicineHealth. Bleeding occurs in the anterior chamber of the eye between the iris and the cornea. The eye may appear to be filled with blood if the hyphema is large, but smaller hyphemas may not be visible. Treatment involves bed rest with the head of the bed elevated, and administration of mild pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, to alleviate discomfort. A doctor must supervise the treatment. He may prescribe eye drops and an eye shield, and generally conducts several thorough eye examinations as the patient recovers within two to four weeks.
A subconjunctival hemorrhage occurs when a blood vessel breaks in the eye, explains All About Vision. The whole eye may appear to be covered in blood, adds Dr. Pullen. People often do not know how the subconjunctival hemorrhage occurred, but it could be a result of trauma, sneezing, coughing, rubbing the eye or pushing during childbirth. Blood thinners, eye surgery and blood clotting disorders are other possible causes of subconjunctival hemorrhage, states All About Vision. Artificial tears can soothe the eye as it heals on its own over the course of a week to 10 days.