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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 10593
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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My 70 yr old father felt fine when he went to bed last night.

Customer Question

My 70 yr old father felt fine when he went to bed last night. He awoke with blood at the white part of his right eye. All of the white from the outer corner to the colored part of his eye is very dark red. The lower rim of that eye is sagging...sort of pulling away from the lower portion of his eye. He also has some puffiness under the eye.
He is not feeling pain in the eye.
He does take aspirin and blood thinners. He also has high blood pressure that is being treated with medication. He has had 3-4 heart attacks with in the last 7 years.
I was very shocked when I saw his eye!
He is very active, plays golf daily!
Should I take him to a Dr.? If so...what type of Dr.?

Lisa Vincent
Alvin, TX. 77511
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Pauline replied 4 years ago.
Having red in the usually white part of the eye is often harmless. It usually means that a small capillary has burst, often due to increased pressure after coughing or straining. So in itself, as long as there is no blood within the pupil or any change in vision then it will fade over the coming weeks.

However if there is swelling or a change in shape to the eyelid then he will need assessment to rule out another problem such as bells palsy.

His blood pressure needs to be checked. Initially any family doctor or ER can do the assessment.

What other anticoagulant is he on?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
You have told me nothing more than I had already found online!
Expert:  Dr. Pauline replied 4 years ago.
With the limitation of Internet, I regret that I cannot examine the eye myself however the information that you have given is in keeping with the common problem of a sub conjunctival haemorrhage. My only concern would be if he was taking a blood thinner such as warfarin.

Is there something extra that you wished to discuss?
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 4 years ago.
Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today. I am an ophthalmologist and would like to add a bit to what DrPauline has already stated.

There is no need to take him to a doctor. As DrPauline has already explained your father has experienced a subconjunctival hemorrhage. He does not have bells palsy and, in some cases, this can be extensive enough to cause his lid to pull away from his eye and cause puffiness. This should resolve.

In the vast majority of cases, sub conjunctival hemorrhage is nothing to worry about. It is usually not a sign of any serious condition but rather is just a small broken blood vessel in the conjunctiva that looks much worse than it really is.

No treatment is necessary. Think of a subconjunctival hemorrhage as a bruise. The reason it looks so red (some people say it looks like a piece of raw meat) is that the skin on your eye is very thin so the underlying blood shows through easily. On your arm, for instance, a bruise looks blue/purple because the overlying skin is thick, blocking the red color of the blood.

Like a bruise elsewhere a subconjunctival hemorrhage will slowly go away over the course of a couple of weeks. It may spread around the globe some and change colors as it clears. This is nothing to be concerned about.

Since his eyelid is a bit distended it would be helpful to use some artificial tears to lubricate his eyes, not so much to decrease the redness (stay away from drops "for getting the red out" such a visine, as they will just irritate things....)but rather to keep his eye moist if needed.

Since he is on blood thinners, if he has not recently had his levels checked I would suggest he have this done in the near future just to make sure it is at a therapeutic level. This is not an emergency.

Your father can continue his usual activities, such as golf, although he will have to come up with a story of how the "other guy" looks to tell his buddies :-)

Does this make sense to you?

The nice thing about JustAnswer is that, unlike what you read on the internet, the information we give you comes from real doctors who are experts in the field. After 20 years of continuing ophthalmology practice I can assure you that your father will be fine even though his eye looks pretty scary!

Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 4 years ago.
It's safe for you to press the positive feedback button now if you so desire. And, never fear, even after you press that button I don't go up in a puff of smoke -- I'll still be right here to continue helping you at no additional charge :-)

Let me know if there is anything else you would like to discuss pertaining to this issue.