Hyphema is a condition in which blood accumulates in the front chamber of the eye, behind the cornea and in front of the iris. Since blood covers the iris and the pupil (centre of the iris), your vision may be blocked partially or completely. It may also be associated with sensitivity to light and pain. Hyphema may be caused by blunt trauma to the eye, work accidents, falls or fights, abnormal blood vessels, medications or medical conditions such as haemophilia (inability to form clots), sickle cell anaemia (abnormal red blood cells) or eye cancer.
Your doctor diagnoses hyphema by collecting your medical history and details regarding the injury. He/she will also perform a complete eye examination through a visual acuity test (test to check your vision), intraocular pressure check and microscopic examination to check the structures of your eyes. Mild forms of hyphemas may heal on their own but others may require intervention. Treatment options include:
- Eye drops
- Bed rest
- Limited movement of the eye
- Placing a patch over the affected area
- Controlling eye pressure
Use of protective eye wear during sports activities can prevent hyphema from occurring.