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Why is my child crying bloody tears?

The Doc Smitty gives 5 reasons why it could happen

What would you do if your child started having bloody tears? Often I write about things that most of you will deal with at some time or another.

But, every now and then, something really interesting grabs my attention as something that you might find interesting, even if it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever see it. This is one of those posts.

Children can cry bloody tears. It’s very rare. It’s usually not caused by anything concerning. But, imagine if your child walked up to you with blood streaming down his or her face.

What are the possible causes?

1. Trauma

I would hope that if your child got poked in the corner of the eye and was crying bloody tears, you would be able to quickly deduce the cause but here it is.

2. Infection

Sometimes infections (like pink eye) can cause enough inflammation such that bleeding can occur. The tissue around the eye is pretty fragile and when it is inflamed, small cracks can cause it to bleed.

3. Just Because

Bloody tears seem to sometimes happen just because. Even after investigation into possible causes, no diagnosis is made. These cases tend to resolve over a few months.

4. Conditions that Cause Easy Bleeding

There are a few conditions that can cause children to bleed more easily. Some children are born with them and some develop them over time. If a child has easy bleeding or excessive bruising, this could be the cause.

5. Bloody Noses

Children with bloody noses can also shed bloody tears.

How? There is a small tube that connects the corner of the eye to the area behind the nose. It’s called the tear duct and this tube is the reason why your nose starts running when you ugly cry.

If your child’s nose is bleeding a lot or if they are trying to stop a bloody nose by applying pressure and sneeze or blow out hard, the blood can come out the duct as a tear.

What do you do for your child if they have bloody tears? Of course, it’s different for each cause. If there’s a stick coming out of it, go to the emergency room. If the child has had red eyes, other signs of easy bleeding or you can find no other cause, call your doctor. If your child has had a bloody nose, continue to apply pressure to the nose to stop the bleeding. Once the bloody nose has stopped, the bleeding tears should stop. If it doesn’t, call your doctor.

About the author

Justin Smith, M.D., is a Cook Children's pediatrician in Lewisville . He attended University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School and did his pediatric training at Baylor College of Medicine. He joins Cook Children's after practicing in his hometown of Abilene for four years. He has a particular interest in development, behavior and care for children struggling with obesity. In his spare time, he enjoys playing with his 3 young children, exercising, reading and writing about parenting and pediatric health issues.

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Justin Smith, M.D.
Medical Advisor for Digital Health
(972) 316-7400
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