Subconjunctival hemorrhages in infants and children: a sign of nonaccidental trauma

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2013 Feb;29(2):222-6. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e318280d663.


Subconjunctival hemorrhages in infants and children can be a finding after nonaccidental trauma. We describe 14 children with subconjunctival hemorrhages on physical examination, who were subsequently diagnosed by a child protection team with physical abuse. Although infrequent, subconjunctival hemorrhage may be related to abuse. Nonaccidental trauma should be on the differential diagnosis of subconjunctival hemorrhage in children, and consultation with a child abuse pediatrics specialist should be considered.

MeSH terms

  • Child Abuse / diagnosis*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Conjunctival Diseases / etiology*
  • Eye Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Physical Examination
  • Retrospective Studies