Vitreous Hemorrhage


Vitreous hemorrhage is when blood leaks into the gel-like fluid of the eye. This can cause problems seeing.

Normal Anatomy of the Eye

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This problem may be caused by damaged or abnormal blood vessels in the back of the eye. Rarely, it may be caused by bleeding from other parts of the eye.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in people with medical conditions and injuries that can cause damage to the blood vessels of the eye, such as:

  • Diabetic retinopathy —most common cause
  • Retinal tear or detachment
  • Posterior vitreous detachment
  • Trauma or injury to the eye
  • Tumors or bleeding from another part of the body (rare)


Blood in the gel of the eye may cause these vision problems:

  • Black spots, floaters, or light flashes
  • Blurriness or haziness
  • Shadows
  • Seeing red
  • Vision loss

Vision problems may worse in the morning.


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. An eye exam will be done.

A slit-lamp will be used to view the back of the eye to look for signs of bleeding. Some people may have an ultrasound instead.


Most people get better without treatment. The doctor will monitor a person for changes. Others will need to have the underlying cause treated.

Some people may need surgery. Vitrectomy may be done to remove the hemorrhage.


The risk of this problem may be lowered by:

  • Managing chronic health problems, such as diabetes
  • Taking steps to avoid eye injury, such as wearing safety goggles when needed


Eye Smart—American Academy of Ophthalmology
National Eye Institute


Canadian Association of Optometrists
Canadian Ophthalmological Society


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Diabetic peripheral neuropathy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed February 15, 2021.
Gariano RF, Kim CH. Evaluation and management of suspected retinal detachment. Am Fam Physician. 2004 Apr 1;69(7):1691-1698.
Retinal detachment. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed February 15, 2021.
Vitreous hemorrhage. Eye Institute website. Available at:
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Accessed February 15, 2021.
Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 2/15/2021

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