Any blunt trauma or blow to the eye can cause bleeding in the front of the eye between the iris and cornea. This bleeding into the anterior chamber of the eye is known as hyphema. The anterior chamber of the eye is comprised of a clear liquid fluid called the aqueous humor. It provides the essential nutrition to the interior structures of the eye.
Causes of bleeding in the eye
A direct blow or trauma to the eye primarily causes a minor hyphema. This will be followed by severe bleeding in 3-4 days. Take note that this trauma is usually a closed or blunt trauma and can be due to an athletic injury from a stick, bat, flying object or accidental contact with an elbow of another player. Other causes of this injury include falls, industrial accidents and fights. Understandably, it pays to be careful by wearing appropriate protective gear if engaged in contact sports or other strenuous activities.
Symptoms of bleeding in the eye
An individual suffering from hyphema who have incurred a recent eye trauma can experience pain in the affected eye and can have blurred vision. If the hyphema is large, the eye can appear as if completely filled with blood. Minor cases are not readily apparent to the naked eye. Significant damage can cause bleeding that can fill the whole anterior chamber, thus appearing dark red and has been known as “eight ball” hyphema.
When to seek medical care
Always remember that hyphema is a medical emergency. It is important to call an ophthalmologist for an immediate appointment. In case an ophthalmologist is not readily available, simply take the individual to the emergency department at the nearest hospital.
How to treat bleeding in the eye
As a medical emergency, hyphema should not be treated at home without seeing an ophthalmologist. Do not attempt to cover the eye since if it is not done properly, it can cause more damage.
The treatment for this eye injury largely depends on how readily you respond with the instructions. Take note that blood typically reabsorbs but your doctor should ensure that the process is resolving. In case intraocular pressure increases or bleeding recurs, the individual might be hospitalized.
When helping out an individual with hyphema, you will be instructed to perform the following first aid measures at home. Make sure that you will carry out the following appropriately:
- Instruct the individual to rest in bed with the head elevated
- Do not allow the individual to engage in any strenuous activity
- Medications that promotes bleeding must be avoided
- You can provide a mild pain reliever such as acetaminophen.
- Cover the eye using a shield in order to protect it from further injury
- The doctor might prescribe atropine that must be applied 3-4 times in a day or as prescribed by the doctor
- Medications to prevent vomiting can be given