A Tennessee man reportedly cries blood weekly but can’t find a diagnosis of what’s behind his mysterious condition.
The Tennessean reports Michael Spann of Antioch, Tenn. experiences bleeding ‘tears’ from his eyes — also out of his nose and mouth — along with painful headaches. The condition first started at age 22 and used to occur daily; now, nearly seven years later, he says the bleeding happens up to two times a week.
The condition has made it hard for him to work. “Any job I get I lose because my eyes start bleeding and they can’t keep me on,” Spann told the paper. “Obviously, I can’t be a waiter and work in any public thing because you are bleeding.”
In 2009, another Tenn. resident, 15-year-old Calvino Inman of Rockwood, reported crying tears of blood up to three times a day. He and his mother Tammy told the “The Early Show” at the time, the tears burn and could last between 15 minutes to an hour.
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“Honestly I thought I was going to die,” the otherwise healthy teen said when he first experienced an episode.
The condition is referred to as haemolacria, or bloody tears, but the cause of remains unknown.
Calvino was treated by Dr. James Fleming, an ophthalmologist at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, his mom said at the time. Fleming published a 2004 paper in the journal Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery on four cases of spontaneous bloody tears in one boy and three girls aged 6 to 14 years.
“Most of these were relatively young patients,” Fleming, who is not currently involved in Spann’s care, told The Tennessean. “As they matured, the bleeding decreased, subsided and then stopped.”
He added it’s difficult for doctors to confirm causes of the condition because scopes and other invasive procedures may further damage the tear ducts.
Haemolacria is more common in people who have experienced extreme trauma or had a head injury, according to a 2010 newsletter from UT Health Science Center, but Calvino’s case in particular was rare because he had no obvious cause.
Spann continues to seek answers. His mother Peggy told the paper he has undergone more than $4,000 in lab work but headache specialists could not determine a cause. She says she reached out to The Tennessean to raise awareness of his condition.
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