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Bloody eyes: No need for concern

A co-worker is getting frequent bloodstains in part of her left eye. They appear unexpectedly and last for about 10 days. Her GP and a specialist told her not to worry as long as there is no eye pain or discomfort. I have doubts, and I wonder if this is masking more serious problems. She is in her late fifties and overweight. Her blood pressure is normal. She does not smoke and hardly drinks alcohol. She likes good coffee but only has one a day. She is not too keen on exercising. She wears glasses and has several pairs.

Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:

Your colleague is getting subconjunctival haemorrhages. A small amount of blood is leaking from a tiny blood vessel just beneath the surface of the white part of the eye, the conjunctiva. Subjunctival haemorrhages appear suddenly and the contrast between the red blood and the eye-white is striking. In the great majority of cases there is no identifiable underlying cause it is just something that happens. It is more common as people get older.If her blood pressure is normal and she has had a test to check that her blood has enough platelets (tiny cells that stop spontaneous bleeding), she really needn't worry. Very minor injuries to the eye can cause a subconjunctival haemorrhage. They can even appear after rubbing the eye. The blood is gradually reabsorbed, usually in 10 days or so.

Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to health@independent.co.uk. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.