A hyphema is a collection of blood in the space between the cornea and the iris. The cornea is the clear, dome shaped tissue that covers the iris and pupil, while the iris is the coloured part of the eye. Hyphema’s are often caused by a blunt injury to the face or eye from an accident or sport. Sometimes that blood is not visible without a doctor looking into the eye with a microscope.

Hyphema’s can be painful because of the bruising and increased pressure in the eye. Timely treatment is important to avoid permanent vision damage.

Signs and symptoms

The main signs and symptoms of a hyphema include:

  • bleeding in the eye
  • light sensitivity
  • eye pain
  • blocked, blurry or clouded vision.


The treatment for a hyphema involves a thorough examination of the front and back of the eye to check for any further bruising or damage. This is followed by drops or ointment and sometimes an eye pad. If your child is given an eye pad, they will need to wear it for several days.

Your child must not rub or touch their eye while it heals. They may need to have complete bed rest with their head in an elevated position so the blood can drain from their eye.

When to seek help

Call the hospital if:

  • there is increased redness in the eye
  • there is an increase in discharge from the eye
  • the hyphema changes colour from red/brown to yellow/white.

Developed by the Ophthalmology Department, Queensland Children's Hospital. Resource ID: FS272 Reviewed: April 2023

Disclaimer: This information has been produced by healthcare professionals as a guideline only and is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your child’s doctor or healthcare professionals. Information is updated regularly, so please check you are referring to the most recent version. Seek medical advice, as appropriate, for concerns regarding your child’s health.

Last updated: December 2023