Doctors are trying to get to the bottom of the case of a Nashville-area man who cries tears of blood, according to a report in The Tennessean
Michael Spann said he was 22 when he first bled tears, which was accompanied by a sudden flash of pain.
"I felt like I got hit in the head with a sledgehammer," he told the newspaper. "I never felt anything like it."
Today, 7 years later, it happens about once or twice a week.
Doctors have been unable to determine a cause, he said. But James Fleming, M.D., an ophthalmologist at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center's Hamilton Eye Institute in Memphis, told The Tennessean the condition may not be as rare as some doctors think.
He and colleagues detailed the cases of four patients with bloody tears in a 2004 article published in a medical journal.
"There probably is a cause, but it is a small tear duct that is only a millimeter or two or three in diameter," Fleming said, noting exploratory medical procedures to uncover a cause may do more harm than good.
"It's a tube. To get into that tube and examine that tube from one end to the other would cause scarring, and you could lose part of the tear duct. That's the dilemma that can cause problems, that we will leave someone with a permanent disability "
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