A pool of blood in the front chamber of the eye, behind the transparent cornea

  • Participating in sports that may lead to a blow to the eye is a risk factor
  • Age, gender, and genetics are not significant factors

A blow to the eye may rupture a blood vessel in the iris (the coloured part of the eye). The damaged blood vessel may bleed into the fluid-filled chamber between the lens and the cornea, the transparent front part of the eye, forming a pool of blood known as a hyphaema. Initially, the blood mixes with the clear fluid behind the cornea, resulting in severely blurred vision, but within a few hours the blood cells sink to the bottom of the chamber, which enables the vision to return to normal.

If you have an eye injury, you need to obtain prompt medical advice: consult your doctor immediately or go to hospital. Hyphaema blood usually disappears in less than a week. Restricting your activities may stop further bleeding. If bleeding recurs, the pressure in the eye can rise and cause acute glaucoma, a serious condition that needs urgent treatment.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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