What is a Vitreous Haemorrhage?

A vitreous haemorrhage occurs when vessels bleed into the vitreous, the gel in the center of the eye.

What causes a Vitreous Haemorrhage?

The causes of vitreous haemorrhage include the following:

  • Abnormal blood vessels which are prone to bleeding. These blood vessels are called neovascularisation (newly-formed vessels) due to diseases such as diabetes and retinal vein occlusion.
  • Normal blood vessels that can rupture under stress or trauma. Such is the case in a posterior vitreous detachment where vitreous traction on the retina can cause a retinal vessel to bleed. Blunt or perforating trauma can also damage blood vessels, causing them to bleed into the vitreous.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms are varied but usually include floaters and/or visual loss in the affected eye. If the vitreous hemorrhage is small there may only be a few new, dark floaters. A very large hemorrhage could potentially block out all vision, allowing perception of only light and dark. Vitreous hemorrhage in itself does not cause permanent vision loss. When the blood clears, your vision may return to its former level unless the macula/retina has been damaged. A vitreous hemorrhage is not normally associated with pain.

How is it diagnosed?

Dr Hilford will undertake a dilated examination of your eyes and tests such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) and/or fluorescein angiography will be required. An ultrasound (B scan) of the eye may also be required.

What are the treatment options?

Management will be dictated by the underlying cause. Treatment options include conservative monitoring, intravitreal anti-VEGF injections, Argon laser and/or vitrectomy surgery. Dr Hilford will discuss the appropriate required treatment in considerable detail.