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Vitreous Hemorrhage

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


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, a vitreous hemorrhage may be caused by bleeding from other parts of the eye.

Risk Factors

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

  • Diabetic retinopathy—this is the 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—this is rare


A person with a vitreous hemorrhage may have eyesight problems such as:

  • Black spots, floaters, or light flashes
  • Blurriness or haziness
  • Shadows
  • Seeing red
  • Loss of eyesight

Eyesight problems may be worse in the morning.


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

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


The goals of treatment are to treat any underlying cause of the hemorrhage and prevent any eyesight loss. Most people get better without treatment. The doctor can watch for changes.

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




  • Diabetic peripheral neuropathy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/diabetic-peripheral-neuropathy.
  • Gariano, R.F., Kim, C.H. Evaluation and management of suspected retinal detachment. Am Fam Physician. 2004; 69 (7): 1691-1698.
  • Retinal detachment. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/retinal-detachment.
  • Vitreous hemorrhage. EyeWiki—American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.eyewiki.org/Vitreous_Hemorrhage.


  • James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.