vitreous hemorrhage

This is the term used to describe blood inside the eye, specifically blood in the vitreous fluid that fills the back of the eye. Symptoms of a vitreous hemorrhage include floaters and a “dark cloud” that seems to obscure vision. The most common cause for an internal ocular bleed is neovascularization, abnormal blood vessels inside the eye (usually from diabetes) that bleed easily. Other causes of a hemorrhage are from trauma (obviously) or even a retinal detachment.  If the hemorrhage is mild, the blood will usually break down and reabsorb by itself.  In these cases, I recommend my patients sleep on their side or with the head of the bed elevated (so that blood doesn’t settle in the middle of the vision). Also, you should avoid heavy lifting and blood thinners (if possible) to minimize the chance of rebleeding. Extensive vitreous hemorrhages are more difficult to live with and may require a vitrectomy to restore useful vision in a more timely manner.  The underlying cause of any hemorrhage needs to be determined, and if the bleeding IS from something like diabetic retinopathy, treatment with a PRP laser may be the next step.

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Dr. Timothy Root is a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Daytona Beach, Florida. His books, video lectures, and training resources can be found at:

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