Blood vessels in the eye may leak and, depending on the location of the hemorrhage, you may not physically see the bleed. A broken vessel on the white of the eye, called a subconjunctival hemorrhage, does not typically indicate a serious problem; but a hemorrhage on the back lining of the eye could result in vision changes. Nutrients such as vitamin C do not typically protect your eyes from hemorrhages, but low vitamin C levels could increase your risks.
Vitamin C helps protect your cells from damage and helps to form collagen, a necessary protein required for wound healing. This vitamin also helps to strengthen your immune system.
The amount of vitamin C you require each day will vary depending on your age, health and lifestyle factors. The average adult typically needs between 75 mg and 90 mg. A child’s needs will also vary, depending on age. Many foods provide vitamin C. Sources include oranges, strawberries, broccoli and potatoes.
This nutrient does not treat eye hemorrhages, but research does indicate a link between vitamin C and bleeding on the retina, the back lining of the eye. Significantly low vitamin C intake could lead to scurvy, a serious condition that can result in losing teeth and hair, as well as pain and swelling in your joints. Scurvy weakens your blood vessels, and this increases your risk for bruising and bleeding.
In 1999, ophthalmologists in Ohio evaluated a teenage girl who had a prolonged case of scurvy that caused bleeding at the back of both of her eyes.
If you have a subconjunctival hemorrhage, a red spot on the white of your eye, you will not typically require any treatment. The redness will gradually fade, just as a bruise will fade on your skin.
Bleeding on the retina will often require surgical intervention to stop the bleed. The precise treatment will vary, depending on the extent and location of the bleed, but your doctor may recommend a laser procedure that will seal off the leaking blood vessel.
If you suspect that you have low vitamin C levels, talk to your doctor. She can help you determine the proper way to increase your vitamin C intake, and this will not only reduce your risk for eye hemorrhages but other health conditions as well.
Contact your doctor immediately if you notice changes in your vision, as a sudden change could indicate a retinal bleed. Prompt medical attention may help you prevent permanent vision loss.
- "Eye Net Magazine"; American Academy of Ophthalmology; Vitreous Hemorrhage: Diagnosis and Treatment; John P. Berdahl, M.D., et al.; 1991
- Office of Dietary Supplements: National Institutes of Health; Vitamin C; July 2010
- “Archives of Ophthalmology”; Scurvy Causing Bilateral Orbital Hemorrhage; Brian Sloan, M.B., B.Ch., M.H.B., et al.; 1999
- Oregon State University: Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin C; Jane Higdon, Ph.D.; November 2009