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Eye and Vision Care

Blood in Retina

11/30/2009

Question:

What could cause a drop of blood to be in the retina? I`m pretty certain I don`t have high blood pressure or diabetes.

Answer:

Since the retinal blood vessels connect to all other blood vessels in the body, retinal hemorrhages sometime indicate systemic disease like diabetes and hypertension. But there are many others to consider, such as high cholesterol, carotid artery disease, infections, and even auto-immune diseases like lupus.

Of course, retinal hemorrhages may also be caused by primary eye diseases like glaucoma or ocular trauma.

When I see blood in the retina, I usually refer the patient to an internist for a complete medical work-up. Then, after that, I will monitor the condition every 2-3 months until the blood is re-absorbed back into the circulation.

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Response by:

Robert D Newcomb, OD, MPH, FAAO Robert D Newcomb, OD, MPH, FAAO
Professor Emeritus of Clinical Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University