Meet Laura Ponce, a nursery school teacher in Lins, Brazil, who has a strange condition that causes her to cry ‘crystal’ tears.
Amazing or agonizing?
This strange eye condition are white plaques that starts as soft blobs inside Laura’s eyes, but hardens when she blinks in an attempt to expel them, then it would eventually emerge as solid white crystals.
This happens to her for weeks at a time, with a new plaque forming as soon as she expels another. It gets so bad at times that she has to take time off from work, just to remove as many as 30 plaque membranes from her eye in a day.
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,”she explained.
Laura first noticed the issue when she was only 15 years old – her eye had started to fill with an unknown white substance. So, she immediately called her mother, who was horrified by the problem. They tried removing the hard plaques from her swollen eye socket, but it wouldn’t stop forming.
We took it out and I was scared. We ran to the ER and the doctor on duty also got scared. The doctor was mystified, ” Laura’s mother recalled.
Unfortunately, the 35 year old, Laura, has never been able to find a cure. She has experienced an episode every few months since then, but no one has been able to explain the mysterious ailment.
The whole family was shaken. We went chasing doctor after doctor. I’m a nursery school teacher, I get angry about not being able to work. Two years ago it was infected for six months and I was taking 30 membranes out of my eye each day,” she said.
But now, Lura is currently seeing Dr. Raul Goncalves, an ophthalmologist at Hospital de Olhos de Bauru, Brazil. According to him, there is no case like hers in medical literature, but he’s trying his best to find an explanation.
“Every time you blink, you’re lubricating your eye, and tears are made of three layers – a water layer, a mucin layer, and a fat layer,” he explained. “Each cell separately creates a product and when you blink you mix all this like a dough.” Dr. Raul’s guess is that the protein content in Ponce’s tears aren’t protecting the eye from bacteria. So, her eyes are forced to produce a second line of defence.
“The cornea jumps into action, and in Miss Ponce’s case the cornea’s surface can secrete keratin. This keratin together with other components causes the tear crystallization.”
Hence, to counter the problem, Dr. Raul has prescribed silver nitrate eye drops, which seem to have provided some relief. Ponce is now experiencing fewer infections and is able to go back to work. But she can’t wait for the day when she’ll finally be rid of the condition.
via The Daily Mail