The 411 On Haemolacria

Posted on: 14 March 2016

From cataracts and glaucoma to nearsightedness, the various conditions that can affect your eye health and sight can be overwhelming. While most of these conditions are common and easy to diagnose and treat, other conditions affecting the eye and your vision can be challenging and surprising. Known for its bloody tears, haemolacria is an incredibly rare and frightening disorder. Unfortunately, determining the cause of the condition is difficult, since very few cases of haemolacria have been documented. Using this guide, you will learn more about this disorder and understand what to do if you start crying bloody tears.

Signs of Haemolacria

Haemolacria is not bleeding from the actual eye, but the condition does cause blood to mix with your tear ducts, resulting in blood-tinged tears. Although some people with the condition see red when crying, others may only see a red tint. In some instances, a very low concentration of blood is present in the tears.


Determining the exact cause of haemolacria is difficult, since it is such a rare condition. However, bloody tears may be linked to infections, inflammation, or trauma to the eye. Here are a few eye conditions that may cause the condition in some patients:

  • Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
  • Eye Tumor
  • Blood Clot near Eye
  • Severe Irritation from Allergies
  • Infection after Eye Trauma

In addition, various hormonal changes in the body can cause blood tears. Menstruation is one of the most common hormonal causes of haemolacria, since a recent study showed many fertile women had traces of blood in their tears.

Haemolacria vs. Hyphema

Bloody tears should not be confused with actual bleeding from the eye. Known as hyphema, this condition causes the front of the eye to bleed and is usually the result of a traumatic injury to the eye.

Hyphema may cause the eye to bleed, but haemolacria causes you to cry with both blood and water.

What to Do

If you notice blood in your eye or coming from your eye, you should seek medical care immediately. Your doctor will first try and determine the source of the bleeding to diagnose the problem.

If the bleeding is coming from an injury to the eye, sutures, medication, or even surgery may be necessary to heal the trauma and stop the bleeding. However, if the blood is coming from your tear ducts, more testing will be necessary to treat the haemolacria.

Panicking is common after crying blood, since the condition may seem like something supernatural or horrific. Unfortunately, the various emotions may frighten and alarm yourself and others around you. These feelings of fear, shock, and misunderstanding have caused many people in the past to hurt and harm others, even though haemolacria is a legitimate medical condition.

Instead of panicking, schedule an appointment with your doctor to find the cause of your haemolacria. Then, you can work towards treating the underlying cause to prevent further blood in your tears.


Your ophthalmologist will need to complete a series of tests on the eye to find the cause of your bleeding. A simple vision exam is sufficient for diagnosing an eye infection, such as pink eye, but an microscopic camera will be used to take detailed photographs of the eye and surrounding area. MRIs may also be necessary to determine if you have any tumors in and around the eye.

If you are suffering with an eye infection, antibacterial drops will be administered. This is usually sufficient for treating the infection and preventing further bleeding from your tear ducts. However, if a tumor or blood clot is found in or behind the eye, surgery will be essential for removal.

Haemolacria, or crying blood, is not usually life threatening unless a tumor or blood clot is found. Thankfully, your eye doctor can usually find and treat the cause, which will allow you to live a more fulfilling life. 

If you seem to be crying blood, visit an eye clinic, such as Discover  Vision Centers, as soon as possible.