Bloody tears have long been associated with vampires in popular fiction. But, did you know that, in some cases, humans can also shed tears composed of blood? Hemolacria or blood in tears is a condition where a person’s tears are partially or completely tinged with blood. It can be caused by different ocular or systemic conditions, Dr Shalini Shetty, Senior Consultant Ophthalmologist, Apollo Hospitals, Bangalore said.
What is it caused by?
Explaining that in some cases there is no root cause of hemolacria, which he described as a “rare condition”, Prof Dr Mahipal Singh Sachdev, Chairman and Managing Director, Centre For Sight listed some possible reasons behind the condition.
Uncontrolled hypertension, people on blood thinning medications like aspirin, warfarin, or heparin, and eye conditions such as trauma to the conjunctiva, pyogenic granuloma, lacrimal sac malignancies etc can also lead to bloody tears, Dr Shetty added.
Apart from blood-tinged tears, hemolacria manifests itself as:
*Visual disturbances/ blurry vision
*Red tint to vision
*Blood vessels becoming fragile and ruptured.
*Constant red tears
*Pain and pressure in the eye
“Headache, bleeding and bruising elsewhere in the body” can also be seen in the case of hemolacria, Dr Shetty explained.
To prevent the condition, Dr Sachdev suggested keeping the eyes healthy “by having routine eye exams and treating any underlying issues as directed by your doctor. When handling potentially dangerous items, taking the proper safety precautions and preventing eye injuries can also help prevent this.”
According to the expert, bloody tears frequently don’t need to be treated. However, in some serious cases, it is recommended to:
*Start medications and use eye drops for the infection depending upon the cause
*Dilating and flushing to drain tears
*Eye surgery in extreme cases
Dr Shetty stressed that one must consult their doctor so that the underlying condition could be investigated and diagnosed.
Who is more at risk?
“People who have conjunctivitis, any previous internal injury to the eye, a person having older fragile blood vessel, or tumour are at a high risk,” Dr Sachdev said.