CHOC Children's
EYE CARE :: Eye Trauma

Blood in the Eye (Hyphema)

What is a hyphema?

Hyphema refers to blood in the anterior chamber of the eye. The anterior chamber is the front section of the eye's interior where fluid flows in and out. A hyphema is usually caused by a trauma to the eye but can also occur spontaneously in children with rare medical problems. Blood is seen in the eyeball. This is a medical emergency and immediate medical care is necessary.

What are the signs and symptoms of a hyphema?

Symptoms of hyphema include blood visible in the eye, usually following some type of trauma to the eye. There may be loss of vision and pain (due to increased IOP).

How is a hyphema diagnosed?

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

Treatment for a hyphema:

Most children with a hyphema will be treated in an emergency room. An ophthalmologist (physician who specializes in comprehensive eye care) should be involved in the care of the child. Treatment may include:

  • eye drops
  • bed rest
  • head of the child's bed should be elevated about 40 degrees to help the body reabsorb the blood in the eye
  • daily checks of the pressure inside the eye

What are the complications from a hyphema?

The following are some of the complications that may occur from a hyphema:

  • the injury may bleed again
  • glaucoma - 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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It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.

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