The man who cries BLOOD: 22-year-old baffles doctors with his red tears as the cause remains a mystery

  • Crying blood is a very rare medical condition known as haemolacria
  • The man had extensive testing which all showed he was in normal health
  • Doctors from South Andaman Island were left to conclude it had ‘no cause’

A man who cries blood has baffled doctors as they have been left scratching their heads as to the cause of the bizarre phenomenon.  

The 22-year-old went to hospital after red tears streamed down his face twice – but tests revealed there was nothing wrong with him.

Crying blood is medically known as haemolacria, and has a number of underlying causes, according to doctors who wrote in the BMJ Case Reports.

The rare condition was concluded to be a mystery in the case of the unnamed man. 

A man who cries blood has baffled doctors on South Andaman Island as they struggled to work out what the cause was when tests revealed the man was in full health

‘Haemolacria is a condition in which the patient has bloody tears, instead of normal watery tears,’ lead author Dr Robert James wrote in the report.

‘It is a symptom of a number of diseases.’

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The man went to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Institute of Medical Sciences in Port Blair on South Andaman Island, India.

The island is not far from North Sentinel, where US missionary John Allen Chau, 26, was killed by a hail of arrows shot by tribesmen last month. 

At the hospital, the young man who was crying blood was put through extensive testing to see what may be wrong with him.


Haemolacrica is a rare condition in which the body mixes blood with tears, which are then cried out.

It is not clear how many people are affected by the gruesome-looking condition, and it can be caused by a number of things.

Infections in the eyes, facial injuries, swelling, tumours in or around the eyes, or nosebleeds can all produce tears containing blood.

The blood can come from a bleeding injury and mix with tears, from being pushed through the tubes connecting the eyes and nose, or from leaking blood vessels inside the tear ducts. 

The condition likely looks worse than it is, and it can usually be treated by tackling the underlying infection or other cause.

But it can be caused by high blood pressure, cancer or a serious injury so should be examined by a doctor. 

His liver function test came back as normal, the report said. While he showed no signs of any bleeding or clotting. And Dr James revealed his capillaries were not deemed as ‘fragile’ in tests. 

The doctors even ruled out genetic diseases, such as von Willerbrand disease, dengue fever and leptospirosis. 

They decided his haemolacria was idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown. 

This accounts for about 30 per cent of cases where the cause of crying blood is unknown. 

‘It may be indicative of a tumour in the lacrimal [glands behind the eye] apparatus,’ Dr James said. ‘Severe bacterial conjunctivitis or local injury to the eye can present with haemolacria.

‘In women ectopic endometrial tissue deposition in the lacrimal duct can give rise to bloody tears during the menstruation.’

Infections in the eyes, facial injuries, swelling, tumours in or around the eyes, or nosebleeds or blood disorders can all produce tears containing blood, which normally looks worse than it seems.  

However, in one story told in the New England Journal of Medicine, a man who was crying blood was found to have a non-cancerous tumours underneath his eyelids.

The man’s bleeding happened two hours before he made it to the hospital and again in the waiting room, and only lasted for a few minutes. 

Doctors in Italy gave the man eyedrops for the tumours, called haemangiomas.   

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