When a person has a subconjunctival hemorrhage, it will look like a red discoloration in the white part of their eye. Though this may seem alarming at first, subconjunctival hemorrhages are not a serious condition and will almost always disappear within a week or two. They can be considered a bruise in the eye. The conjunctiva is the outer layer of your eye that contains many small blood vessels that burst or are damaged very easily. Whether an adult or newborn suffers a subconjuctival hemorrhage, it is generally nothing to worry about.
Subconjunctival hemorrhages causes are usually innocuous, and adults often don’t notice when one occurs. When the eye experiences even a small amount of stress this can cause one of the blood vessels to burst, creating a subconjunctival hemorrhage. Some subjconjunctival hemorrhage causes include rubbing the eye, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, constipation, and extreme acts of physical exertion.
In a similar way, the causes of newborn subconjunctival hemorrhages are almost always natural occurrences and caused by the pressures resulting from childbirth.
Natural Subconjunctival Hemorrhages Causes in Newborns
When a baby is being born, the baby’s entire body is experiencing a large amount of pressure, stress, and compression. Even when the baby and the mother’s pelvis are normal sizes, it can be very difficult to move the baby through the birth canal and pelvic muscles, and this experience can cause enough stress to result in subconjunctival hemorrhages in the baby, and this is in fact very common. Some doctors believe that subconjunctival hemorrhages in newborns are caused by the changing levels of pressure as the baby moves through the uterus, cervix, and birth canal.
During birth, some babies have serious and life-threatening difficulties. When a baby is experiencing severe fetal distress, doctors and medical staff look for ways to help ease the stress being put on the baby, complete the delivery as soon as possible, and sometimes decide to perform an emergency C-section. Fetal distress can be caused by a number of different things such as premature or post-term labor, extreme compression or asphyxiation, and bruising and physical injury. All of these sources of stress are subconjunctival hemorrhages causes. The subconjunctival hemorrhages causes no serious damage, but could be a sign or symptom of more serious problems and fetal distress during the delivery.
Long and Difficult Delivery
When a delivery takes longer than 18 hours, it is generally considered a difficult delivery. Each moment that the baby is moving through the birth canal, it’s body is under extreme amounts of pressure, and the longer it takes to deliver the baby, the greater the risk of injury or other complications. During a long and difficult delivery, a baby’s body is under this stress for hours and hours, and the longer a delivery lasts the greater the chance the vessels in the baby’s eyes will burst.
One of the most dangerous subconjuctival hemorrhages causes is asphyxia. While the baby is being delivered, there is always a risk that the baby loses its supply of oxygen. This can occur if the baby’s body is compressed in an irregular way or if the umbilical cord becomes pinched. If the newborn’s lungs are not fully developed, this may also result in asphyxiation. When the baby is not receiving oxygen, it will experience severe fetal distress, and this may cause subconjunctival hemorrhages.
Medical Malpractice and Misconduct
In addition to the other subconjunctival hemorrhages causes, the actions of the medical staff are another possible explanation for burst blood vessels in a newborn’s eyes. If the doctor and medical staff aren’t delicate and careful enough with the baby during delivery, this can cause unnecessary physical trauma and stress. This is more common when doctors use tools such as vacuum suction or forceps to assist with the delivery.