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Definition Return to top
Hyphema is blood in the front area of the eye.
Causes Return to top
Hyphema is usually caused by trauma to the eye. Other causes of bleeding in the front chamber of the eye include:
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
Treatment Return to top
In some mild cases, no treatment is needed. The blood is absorbed in a few days.
The health care provider may recommend bed rest, eye patching, and sedation to reduce the likelihood of recurrent bleeding.
Eye drops to decrease the inflammation or lower the intraocular pressure may be used if needed.
The ophthalmologist may need to remove the blood, especially if the intraocular pressure is severely increased or the blood is slow to absorb again. You may need to stay in a hospital.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The outcome depends upon the amount of injury to the eye. Patients with sickle cell disease are more likely to have eye complications and must be monitored more carefully.
Severe vision loss can occur.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you notice blood in the front of the eye or you have a traumatic eye injury. You will need prompt diagnosis and treatment by an ophthalmologist.
Prevention Return to top
Many eye injuries can be prevented by wearing safety goggles or other protective eye wear. Always wear eye protection while playing sports such as racquetball, or contact sports such as basketball.
References Return to top
Brunette DD. Ophthalmology. In: Marx J, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2006: chap 70.Update Date: 10/6/2008 Updated by: Paul B. Griggs, MD, Department of Ophthalmology, Virigina Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.