Hyphema is when blood collects between the clear dome of the eye (cornea) and the colored part of the eye (iris). This can lead to a buildup in pressure that may harm the eye.
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The bleeding is caused by a tear in the iris or nearby structures. The is often caused by trauma. It may also happen due to certain health problems. Sometimes the cause is not known.
Hyphema caused by trauma is more common in males. Other things that may raise the risk of this problem from trauma are:
Health problems that may raise the risk are:
Blood will be visible in front of part or all of the colored part of the eye. Other problems may be:
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. You will also be asked about any recent injury. A physical will be done. It will focus on your eye and surrounding structures.
Your blood clotting time may be tested. This can be done with blood tests.
Images may be taken of your eye and nearby structures. This can be done with a CT scan.
The goal is to clear the blood from the eye. This may happen on its own or treatment may be needed. Choices are:
Some people may need surgery to:
Hyphemia is usually caused by trauma. To lower the risk:
American Academy of Ophthalmology
National Eye Institute
Canadian Ophthalmological Society
Approach to eye trauma—emergency management. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/approach-to-eye-trauma-emergency-management. Accessed October 21, 2020.
Eye injuries. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/emergencies/eye_injury.html. Accessed October 21, 2020.
Hyphema—emergency management. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/hyphema-emergency-management. Accessed October 26, 2020.
Romaniuk VM. Ocular trauma and other catastrophes. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2013 May;31(2):399-411.
What is hyphema? American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: http://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-hyphema. Accessed October 26, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD Last Updated: 5/19/2021