It is not unusual for a thin red streak to appear in the white part of the body called sclera. This is caused by a popped or broken blood vessel in the eye, and it is usually not considered dangerous or something to worry about.
Aside from a bright red spot or streak on the sclera, there are usually no other symptoms of this problem. Sometimes, depending on the cause, it can cause mild pain, itching and watery eyes.
Causes of popped blood vessel in eye
A number of factors can lead to breaking of one or more of the tiny blood vessels that run through the eye. One of the most common causes is eye strain, for example when spending too much time reading or working at the computer.
Blood vessels in the eye can pop because of violent sneezing or coughing too, and it happens due to a sudden change in pressure. This is also a common side effect of constipation, or more precisely, as a result of strain when trying to have a bowel movement.
Certain herbs, like ginkgo, St. John’s wort, cayenne and garlic can cause this problem, as well as anti-clotting medications like Aspirin and warfarin.
A popped blood vessel in the eye can result from abnormal pressure to the eye, certain diseases like glaucoma, high blood pressure and diabetes, and because of improper use of makeup.
This problem can, of course, be caused by an injury to the eye, and sometimes there is no apparent cause for it.
Treatment for popped blood vessel in eye
A popped blood vessel in the eye usually looks worse than it really is. When it occurs, there is a small leakage beneath the sclera that cannot easily evacuate from there and it may take 10 to 14 days to disappear. In most cases no specific treatment is required because the popped vessel will soon heal itself and the bleeding will disappear.
In case a popped blood vessel is causing itching, it can be helpful to use over-the-counter artificial tears to relieve the discomfort. Applying cold compresses can also be efficient. Unfortunately, aside from sunglasses, there is not much one can do to mask a popped eye vessel.
It is recommended to find out the cause of a popped blood vessel in the eye. Even though the problem will go away in two weeks at most, sometimes its underlying cause can be something serious that needs to be checked. However, if the problem is not frequent and recurring, there is generally nothing to worry about.