A nursery school teacher in Brazil suffers from a strange condition which causes her to cry ‘crystal’ tears.
Laura Ponce has a strange affliction which means white plaques build up in her eyes for weeks at a time. Initially, the residue is soft, but it crystallises in the air.
And, as Ponce blinks to expel one clot of white plaque, another starts to form and becomes a membrane on her eyeball. Ouch!
A clot starts to swell then I have to open my eye to take out the membrane. When it dries it hardens, it gets really hard, it hurts a lot.
The 35-year-old first noticed the ‘crystal’ tears when she was 15, as her eye started filling up with the unknown white substance. Nowadays, Miss Ponce sometimes has to take time off work, removing up to 30 hard white plaques from her eye every day.
But, after two decades of suffering, a doctor might finally have discovered the cause of her tears.
Dr Raul Goncalves, an ophthalmologist at Hospital de Olhos de Bauru, Brazil, said they are yet to find a case such as Miss Ponce’s in medical literature.
And, after running a series of tests on a jar of her crystallised tears, he now believes the white crystals are due to her eyes producing excessive amounts of keratin.
Dr Goncalves said:
I have been an ophthalmologist for 25 years and I have never seen anything like it. For these plaques to form so fast there could only be one explanation, it must be chemical. Every time we blink you’re lubricating your eye, and tears are made of three layers – a water layer, a mucin layer and a fat layer. Each cell separately creates a product and when you blink you mix all this like a dough.
Dr Goncalves has now prescribed silver nitrate eye drops to manage Miss Ponce’s condition, which is set to be featured on a new series of ‘Body Bizarre’ on TLC starting this Thursday.