Hemolacria: Crying with tears of blood

In some parts of the world it is seen as something religious, but there are also people who believe that crying tears of blood has a medical cause. It can look scary when bloody tears flow from the eyes. Crying tears of blood is also called hemolacria and it is sometimes seen in people who have an injury, infection, or tumor in the eye. A clear cause is not always found for everyone.

What it is

Hemolacria is the phenomenon of bloody tears flowing from the eyes. The tears sometimes contain so little blood that it is barely visible. There are also known cases of tears from crying, where the tears are completely red. There is usually a medical cause behind this. In a rare number of cases it occurs spontaneously without an identifiable cause. In some parts of the world it is seen as something religious. Research has shown that in some women there is a connection between traces of blood in their tears and the hormone cycle.

Medical cause

Eye injuries that cause bleeding in the eye can lead to hemolacria. Tumors and other injuries in the eye near the tear duct can cause bleeding. It can also have another cause, such as an eye infection or a bacterial infection. Serious conditions such as Ebola can cause blood vessels to burst. Irritation can damage the blood vessels in the eye, causing them to leak. In some cases there is a psychological cause.

Psychological cause

Young girls in particular who cry tears of blood have a good chance that the cause is psychological. A number of cases of this have been studied. The hemolacria is often accompanied by dizziness and headache. No physical abnormalities were found, but further psychological examination showed that the girls had hysterical tendencies. Presumably there is a connection between this character trait and the tears of blood.


A girl from India (Rashida Khatoon) has become a shrine because she can cry tears of blood several times a day. Local Hindu holy men have declared her a miracle. The news that a girl could cry blood spread around the world a few years ago. For many, the phenomenon of hemolacria only became known at that time. Doctors could not find any medical cause in the girl. There are also those who believe that holy statues can cry blood. Women who used to suffer from tears of blood were sometimes labeled as witches and witches were often burned alive or drowned.

Is it serious?

It can look scary when someone is crying tears of blood. It can also be a traumatic experience for the patient himself. The patient often thinks that he is seriously ill. If it occurs for the first time, it is wise to go to the doctor. There are cases where tears of blood occur spontaneously, but sometimes research shows that there is a psychological cause such as extreme stress. If it only occurs a few times a year, it is often difficult to find out where exactly it comes from. If it turns out to be a tumor, it is important to intervene quickly.

Who does it occur to?

Research has shown that the majority of cases of hemolacria consisted of fertile women, most of whom were menstruating at the time, a smaller proportion of pregnant women and a small proportion of men. This condition is very rare in postmenopausal women. The conclusion is that hemolacria in women is mainly caused by hormones and that in men it has another cause, such as an eye infection or another medical cause.

Other causes

Some people may cry tears of blood due to other bleeding, for example, and nosebleed. They try to stop the nosebleed by pinching the nose and bending the head back. Anatomically, the nasal cavity and tear duct are not far apart. By blowing a nosebleed, blood can enter the tear duct due to the pressure.