Doctors have assured Calvino Inman, 15, of rural Rockwood, Tenn., his life isn't in danger. But he told co-anchor Harry Smith on "The Early Show" Thursday, "I'm worried -- I don't want to pass away, because I kind of love my life."
His mother, Tammy Mynatt, says, "The scariest thing in my life is when he looked at me and said 'Mom, am I gonna die?' That right there broke my heart."
The tears are uncontrollable, begin for no apparent reason, and last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
Physicians are mystified, but suspect it may be linked to procedures done on Inman to stop nosebleeds and may just go away on its own, according to CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton .
Inman says it's as if his "eyes are bleeding." He says they feel like regular tears, though they sometimes burn. "It just comes up," he explained to Smith. "I could be sitting in the front room, watching TV, and I just start bleeding."
Mynatt says she called 911 when her son first told her about the unusual condition. "They've done an MRI. They did a CAT scan. They did it with and without an IV. They've done ultrasounds."
The other kids gave Inman a hard time at first. "They called me possessed and all these different names," he told Smith. "Now that they see it's getting really serious, if they're not crying in my face, telling me how sorry they are, they're praying for me."
Inman could be suffering from a rare condition called haemolacria, Ashton says, but doctors haven't been unable to confirm that or pinpoint the cause of the bloody tears.
"Calvino actually has suffered with nosebleeds for several years and actually had to have some procedures done to control that bleeding," Ashton added. "And just based on the anatomy of where the tear duct is, what we're thinking and Calvino's doctor told me ... when I spoke to him (is) that there might be some abnormal connection near the tear duct, because it is very close to the nasal cavity and that might be at play here.
"There have been very few reports of this in the medical literature and, in most cases, it goes away on its own," Ashton noted. "We have to remember that the premise in medicine is first do no harm, so that pertains to both the diagnosis or workup as well as treatment. We don't want to make the situation worse as they try to figure out what's going on with Calvino."