Hyphema is the accumulation of blood in front of the colored portion of the eye. It generally results from trauma to the eye. Fluid from the outer portion of the eye, aqueous humor, flows continuously across the iris. It is reabsorbed by small capillaries. The hyphema may obstruct the flow of aqueous humor and lead to increased pressure within the eye. This is uncommon but can produce damage to the eye and optic nerve and adversely affect vision. Even when the blood disappears, there is a risk of developing glaucoma, or problems with increased pressure within the eye.
Causes of Hyphema
The most common cause of hyphema is blunt eye trauma. Penetrating eye trauma may also produce a hyphema. Severe inflammation of the iris can lead to rupture of a small capillary and bleeding into the eye. Retinoblastoma and melanoma, cancers which can affect the eye, may sometimes bleed from the tumor tissue producing a hyphema.
Signs and Symptoms of Hyphema
Inspection of the eye shows a visible accumulation of blood just in front of the colored portion of the eye, the iris. Blurred vision may result. Eye pain is usually present to varying degrees.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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