Crying & Eye Health: Can Tears Pop a Blood Vessel in Your Eye?

Crying & Eye Health: Can Tears Pop a Blood Vessel in Your Eye?

Ever found yourself in the aftermath of a good cry, only to notice a bloodshot eye staring back at you from the mirror? You’re not alone. It’s a common concern to wonder if you can pop a blood vessel in your eye from crying.

While it might look alarming, it’s usually not as serious as it seems. In fact, the medical term for this is subconjunctival hemorrhage – quite a mouthful, isn’t it? But don’t let that scare you. We’re here to break down what it means and how it relates to those tearful moments.

So, can an emotional outburst really cause such a dramatic reaction in your eyes? Let’s delve into the science behind the tears and find out.

Key Takeaways

  • A subconjunctival hemorrhage, commonly known as popping a blood vessel in the eye, is a harmless condition that can occur from crying, as it affects the body’s blood pressure and therefore places stress on the small, delicate vessels in our eyes.
  • Not everyone who cries experiences a subconjunctival hemorrhage. Factors like overall health, existing eye conditions, frequency of crying episodes and use of certain medications all play a role in determining the occurrence.
  • Recognizable via a bright red patch in the white of your eye, a subconjunctival hemorrhage typically presents little to no discomfort, and clears up naturally within 10 to 14 days. However, immediate medical attention is necessary if changes in vision or pain occur.
  • The best way to manage this condition is by seeking professional help when in doubt, noticing changes and being an active participant in one’s eye health. Over-the-counter artificial tears can provide relief for persistent discomfort.
  • Prevention strategies are not foolproof but helpful. These include ensuring your eyes are well-lubricated, avoiding excessive eye rubbing, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle to manage stress better.
  • Regular eye check-ups are crucial to identify any potential underlying eye or health conditions that may lead to a subconjunctival hemorrhage and ensure overall health of the eyes.

While crying vigorously can put strain on the eyes, it is relatively rare for tears alone to cause a blood vessel to pop in the eye. For understanding the eye health concerns related to crying, Mayo Clinic provides medical advice on subconjunctival hemorrhages, which can occur due to extreme emotional stress. Tips on how to soothe strained eyes after crying can be found on Healthline, which also discusses the physiological process of crying.

Understanding Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

Understanding Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

Delving into the subject, subconjunctival hemorrhage is the specific term for this phenomenon. When you sob, your body has an emotional and physiological response. Tears might be the first thing you notice, but crying also impacts your body’s blood-flow dynamics.

What’s happening here? Think of the eye as a contained system with several small, delicate blood vessels—also called capillaries. The blood pressure in these vessels can vary, depending on certain bodily actions or emotional states.

Let’s proposition this with an analogy: think of these capillaries like small balloons. If there’s a sudden influx of pressure, they might overfill – and ultimately, burst. That’s what can happen in your eyes. An emotional outburst like crying increases blood pressure, which can cause these capillaries to burst, leading to a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

If you’re visualizing a gruesome scene right now, it’s not quite that dramatic. These burst capillaries often don’t inflict pain. Here’s a fundamental point to remember: most subconjunctival hemorrhages are harmless. They may cause a certain level of discomfort or create a startling change in your eye’s appearance, but they usually clear up on their own.

Now you’re probably looking for solutions, for ways to prevent these bloodshot eyes. Fortunately, there are proactive steps you can take to manage your eye health. Lifestyle changes, such as stress management and maintaining a balanced diet, may help. Always remember, if you notice a sudden change in your eye appearance or experience discomfort, don’t hesitate to consult with an eye care professional. It’s essential to become an active participant in your eye health, noting changes and seeking help when you need it.

Causes of Subconjunctival Hemorrhage from Crying

Have you ever wondered why an intense bout of crying can lead to red, bloodshot eyes? It’s all tied to our physiological responses. When we cry intensely, our bodies release a series of stress hormones. This leads to an increase in blood pressure which, in turn, puts stress on the small blood vessels in our eyes.

The phenomenon is known as a Subconjunctival Hemorrhage. It’s what happens when the tiny blood vessels beneath the clear surface, or conjunctiva, burst due to strain. Crying is just one potential cause of this pressure spike. Other common triggers can include:

  • Emotional distress
  • Physical strain
  • High blood pressure
  • Certain medications

Factors such as these can cause or exacerbate a pre-existing subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Consider this scenario: you’re watching a sad movie and start crying. Your heart rate increases, and so does your blood pressure. The surge in blood pressure prompts the blood vessels in your eyes to expand, accommodating the higher blood flow. In doing so, some of these vessels can burst, causing a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

However, it’s crucial to note that not everyone who cries will experience a subconjunctival hemorrhage. Various factors, including overall health, existing eye conditions, regularity of crying episodes, orbicularis oculi muscle flexing through the strong act of crying, and use of certain medications, can influence the likelihood of a hemorrhage.

In most cases, your body is efficient at repairing these tiny bursts. Naturally, the blood caught between layers clears up given time. But should you see changes in your vision or experience pain, you’d want to seek medical attention without delay. After all, your eyes are windows to your health and well-being. Regular monitoring and care go a long way in preserving these complex organs.

Symptoms to Look Out for

While understanding the causes of subconjunctival hemorrhage is essential, equally important is knowing the symptoms. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Can crying cause subconjunctival hemorrhage?” You’re likely also curious about the signs that might indicate you’ve burst a blood vessel in your eye due to significant emotional distress or physical strain. Keep in mind that the symptoms can vary based on the severity of the hemorrhage.

First and foremost, the most common symptom is a bright red patch in the white of your eye. This occurrence can be startling, but it’s typically harmless and causes little to no discomfort. It’s simply the result of blood collecting beneath the clear surface of your eye.

A major concern associated with subconjunctival hemorrhage is visual impairment, which can range from hazy vision to complete loss of sight. However, it’s worth noting that this alarming symptom is rarely associated with the condition. So, if you’re experiencing any changes in your vision, it’s critical to seek immediate medical attention.

Other symptoms can include:

  • Mild eye irritation or a scratchy sensation
  • Increased tear production
  • Light sensitivity or discomfort in bright light

Given the wide array of symptoms, maintaining vigilance is key. Don’t downplay any eye discomfort or visual disturbances, as they may be a sign of more severe eye issues or underlying health concerns. If you notice any anomalies in your eyes or vision post a crying spell or an intense emotional event, it’s crucial to contact a healthcare professional at the earliest to ensure your eye health and overall well-being.

Treatment and Prevention

Treatment and Prevention

After we’ve understood the potential causes and symptoms of subconjunctival hemorrhage, let’s now focus on the crucial aspects of treatment and prevention.

Despite its fearsome appearance, a popped blood vessel in your eye from crying or similar strain doesn’t typically require extensive medical treatment. The body naturally heals this condition over time, typically within 10 to 14 days. Nonetheless, for certain cases, especially those presenting with significant discomfort or repeated occurrences, consulting an eye care professional becomes necessary, much like how a roof in disrepair requires a professional to ensure its integrity.

If you experience persistent discomfort, over-the-counter artificial tears could offer some relief, akin to applying a soothing balm to a wound. Avoid rubbing or scratching your eye, as this could worsen the condition. Although wearing contact lenses doesn’t seem to hinder healing, you might want to forego them temporarily if you feel any discomfort, similar to changing out of tight shoes that cause discomfort. A professional should examine persistently recurring blood vessels in your eye, as they would inspect a mirror for cracks to ensure it reflects accurately.

Take note that a hemorrhage can indicate an underlying eye or health condition. So, a complete eye examination by a professional might even prevent future instances, just as regular maintenance prevents issues from escalating in other areas of life. Regular eye check-ups are essential to safeguard your overall eye health, ensuring the clarity of your vision, as clean water ensures the purity of a stream.

As for prevention, no foolproof method exists. However, certain steps can help minimize the chances of blood vessels popping in your eye. Ensuring that your eyes are well-lubricated, especially when working long hours or under dry conditions, can help. Take regular breaks, like stepping away from a task to preserve energy. Blink more often during intensive tasks to prevent drying out your eyes, similar to how regular cleaning maintains the freshness of carpets. Moreover, try to avoid excessive eye rubbing or situations that might put undue pressure on your eyes, guarding them as you would protect a fragile item from harm.

While treating this condition or following these preventative measures, always remember to be observant. If you notice anything unusual or have concerns about your eye health, don’t hesitate to seek professional help, as vigilance is key to maintaining overall well-being.

Key TopicImportant Points
TreatmentUse artificial tears for discomfort, avoid eye rubbing, and consult a professional for persistent or recurring cases
PreventionKeep eyes lubricated, take breaks, avoid excessive eye rubbing or undue pressure
Regular Check-upsEssential to maintaining overall eye health


You’ve now seen how crying can lead to a popped blood vessel in the eye. It’s not always cause for alarm, but it’s essential to know when to seek professional help. Remember, most cases heal naturally within two weeks. If you’re experiencing persistent discomfort or repeated instances, it’s time to consult an eye care professional. Artificial tears and avoiding eye rubbing can help manage symptoms while preventive measures like lubrication, taking breaks, and avoiding excessive eye rubbing can keep your eyes healthy. Regular check-ups are your best line of defense against eye health issues. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional if you have any concerns. Your eyes are precious, treat them with the care they deserve.

What is subconjunctival hemorrhage?

A subconjunctival hemorrhage is a condition where a blood vessel in the eye pops or breaks. This results in a bright red patch appearing in the white of the eye.

What are its symptoms?

The primary symptom is a bright red patch in the eye. Some individuals may experience discomfort or a scratchy feeling in the eye. However, a subconjunctival hemorrhage is typically painless and doesn’t affect vision.

How is this condition treated?

In most cases, a subconjunctival hemorrhage heals by itself within 10 to 14 days. Using artificial tears can alleviate discomfort. Avoid eye rubbing and seek professional advice for recurring cases or persistent discomfort.

Are there preventative measures?

Yes. To prevent a blood vessel from popping in the eye, keep eyes lubricated, take regular breaks from tasks that strain the eyes, and avoid excessive eye rubbing.

How often should I have an eye check-up?

Regular eye check-ups are vital to maintaining eye health. The frequency could depend on your age, health, and risk factors. Always consult an eye care professional if you have any concerns about your eye health.