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Hyphaema: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About hyphaema

Hyphaema is a traumatic disorder involving the eyes wherein an injury to one or both eyes leads to collection of blood in the front portion of eye. This may cause impairment of vision and if left untreated, may progress to a serious condition called glaucoma.

Hyphaema: Incidence, age and sex

Hyphaema arises from a traumatic cause and thus may affect an individual of any age and any sex. Athletes especially boxers, are more susceptible to this traumatic disorder.

Signs and symptoms of hyphaema: Diagnosis

The clinical features of hyphaema are preceded by a history of trauma and include sudden impairment of vision in the affected eye which is associated with intense pain and redness of the eye. Other features like nausea and vomiting may also be complained of.

The eye must be examined by an eye specialist to confirm the diagnosis. It is essential to visualize the internal blood vessels of the eye with an instrument called ophthalmoscope. Sometimes, a slit lamp examination of the eye may also be required to establish the diagnosis. Tonometry may also be performed which is a procedure to measure the intraocular pressure

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Causes and prevention of hyphaema

Hyphaema is a result of blunt trauma of the eye which causes rupture of the blood vessels. This results in bleeding and subsequent accumulation of blood in the anterior or front chamber of the eye. Physical activities like fighting with bare hands or sports activities like boxing may lead to hyphaema. Athletes should take certain precautions like wearing of protective head gear while playing to avoid any kind of injury to the eyes.

Hyphaema: Complications

Increased and persistent bleeding in the anterior chamber of the eye may cause increase in the intraocular pressure of the eye which may progress to glaucoma - a serious eye problem. Glaucoma has the potential to cause irreversible damage to the eyes resulting in permanent impairment of vision.

Hyphaema: Treatment

Hyphaema in most individuals usually resolves successfully by conservative management. First and foremost, the affected eye is shielded and the individual is advised bed-rest with elevated head to avoid further bleed. It is advisable to avoid certain activities which may increase the chances of bleeding like bending or lifting heavy objects. Medications like NSAIDs and aspirin are contraindicated in such conditions. Such measures if done at the earliest may surely help in improving the vision. Eye drops may be used which help in lowering the elevated pressure in the eyes. Surgical management which involves removal of the hyphaema may be considered in individuals in whom glaucoma develops. This is done to preserve vision and prevent permanent damage to eyes. The prognosis of hyphaema is usually good and it resolves with complete restoration of vision.