Why Eye Spills Happen in Children

The ocular effusion or eye or red patch, is a condition that in medicine is called subconjunctival hemorrhage.

It is common for it to occur in children and although due to its characteristics it can be worrying, in most cases it does not present complications. Here we tell you why they happen and how you can take care of the little ones.

An eye spill occurs when reddish spots of blood appear inside the eye. This is a consequence of the rupture of the blood vessels found in the ocular conjunctiva.

The ocular conjunctiva is an elastic membrane that covers the “white part” of the eye (sclera). It is important that this transparent “cloth” is in good condition, since it protects and lubricates the corneas.

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When the vessels or capillaries break, the blood is retained in the conjunctiva and causes the popular “spots”.

Causes of eye effusion in children

Unlike other health conditions, eye effusions are usually asymptomatic. In children it is common for them to occur due to blows or accidents, although they can also be due to:

  • Increased ocular blood pressure.
  • Consuming drugs whose main or side effects involve altering blood clotting.
  • Diabetes.
  • Sneeze or cough forcefully
  • Rubbing your eyes roughly.
  • Viral infections
  • Suffer hematological diseases.
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Eyedrops are also very common in newborns, probably as a result of pressure changes throughout the baby’s entire body during delivery.

How to treat an eye spill

Experts explain that there is no standardized treatment for this condition. Shortly after its appearance, the trapped blood fluid will be reabsorbed.

Although the size of the effusion will determine its duration, generally within one to two weeks they usually disappear. During this recovery process it is advised not to rub, scratch or put pressure on the eye.

You can consult a doctor to evaluate the child’s eye effusion. The professional may recommend:

  • Avoid activities that demand the eye, such as spending a lot of time in front of screens or reading.
  • Eye drops.
  • Repose.
  • Raise the head of the child’s bed so that it reaches an inclination of approximately 40 °. This can stimulate the body’s reabsorption of blood in the eye.
  • Wear a protective patch.

It is important not to resort to self-medication or home remedies, as they can worsen the condition and require medical intervention. Finally, if external bleeding occurs, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Since eye spills in children often occur from injuries or blows, taking care of safety at home is a good way to prevent them. Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Buy protective glasses for when they do physical activities or sports.
  • Avoid easy access to tools or sharp objects.
  • Respect the age listed on the toys, so that they are consistent with their years and there is no risk of injury.

Eye irritation

It is common for eye discharge to be mistaken for red eyes, a fairly common vision condition characterized by irritation from air, fatigue, dust, allergic reactions, or excessive sun exposure.

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In this case, children should follow the following precautions:

  • Apply cotton balls soaked with chamomile, fennel or green tea infusion for a few minutes before going to sleep.
  • Apply thin and cold slices of cucumber or potato on the closed eyelids. Remove as soon as they lose their temperature, and rinse your face with warm water.
  • Keep your eyes closed for a few minutes to rest. You can also perform up and down movements with them while they remain closed.
  • Lie on your back and apply a cold compress for five minutes. Then place a warm compress for another five minutes. You can also use a gel mask or a damp cloth.
  • If there is dryness, usually caused by air conditioners or very dry, you can resort to the use of artificial tears to moisturize the eyes.
  • Use grated carrot cold compress to relieve inflammation and redness. You can also soak a cloth with its juice so as not to apply them directly on the eyes.

It is important to go to the doctor if in addition to the redness you feel itching, pain, vision problems or discharge from the eyes, since in some cases the redness of the eyes can be due to an infection, such as conjunctivitis.


Eye effusion or subconjunctival hemorrhage is a common vision condition that occurs when the blood vessels or capillaries of the conjunctiva (membrane that lines the “white part” of the eye) are damaged.

Generally, it is a harmless condition that goes away over time, although doctors may advise using drops, patches, or tilting the bed to help absorb the trapped blood.

It is often confused with another condition popularly called red eyes, which occurs due to irritation caused by the air, sun or allergic reactions.

Sources consulted: US National Library of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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