A man covers his eyes so we don't see his tears of blood

With review and feedback from CEENTA Ophthalmologist Ernest Bhend, MD (Fort Mill)

Le Chiffre, the villain in the James Bond film “Casino Royale,” had an unusual issue where he cried blood. But this is not a fictional condition. Crying blood, also known as haemolacria, is very real.

How do we produce tears?

Lacrimal glands above each eye produce your tears. As you blink, tears spread across the surface of the eye. Then the tears drain into puncta, tiny holes in the corners of your upper and lower eyelids. Your tears then travel through small canals in the lids and down a duct before emptying into your nose. There, tears will either evaporate or be reabsorbed.

You have three types of tears. Emotional tears are the ones you see when you experience a reaction like sadness or extreme joy. Reflex tears are when your eyes are trying to clear out an irritant, like dust or smoke. Basal tears are constantly produced and keep our eyes from drying.

What is haemolacria?

Haemolacria is when a person’s tears are tinged with, or partially made of, blood. It is usually benign and the symptom of some other condition.

What causes tears of blood?

Bloody tears can be the symptom of a number of conditions, including hormone changes, injuries and trauma, nosebleeds, high blood pressure, tumors, and blood diseases like hemophilia. In some cases, however, there is no root cause.

How is haemolacria treated?

In many cases, haemolacria will resolve on its own. However, additional treatments are contingent on what the root cause is. Once that is determined, your doctor may recommend one of several treatments, including medication, a stent, or surgery.

Should I see a doctor if I have bloody tears?

Ernest Bhend, MD

While some cases are benign, haemolacria can still be related to something serious.

“If you are bleeding from the eye you definitely want to see an eye doctor to have this evaluated,” CEENTA Ophthalmologist Ernest Bhend, MD, said.

If you are concerned about blood in your tears, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment at CEENTA.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. You can now schedule an appointment online with Dr. Bhend or any of our nearly 50 eye doctors in North and South Carolina. You can also schedule through myCEENTAchart or by calling 704-295-3000.


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