Keyhole surgery – DCR

Keyhole Watery eye surgery

The technical name for this surgery is Endoscopic Dacryocystorhinostomy or DCR for short (pronounced “dee.cee.are”). This keyhole operation is performed entirely inside the nose using a telescope and specialised microsurgical instruments to open the tear drain and create a clear path for tears to enter the nose. Sometimes, entry into the nose is blocked by a deviated nasal septum, which is straightened at the time of surgery. If a tear drain blockage occurs in zone 1 of the tear drain, small silicone tubes are placed at the end of surgery, to be removed several weeks later in the office. Because it is key hole surgery, there is no cuts to the skin and no visible signs of surgery.

Surgery is performed at almost any age, from children to adults. If both eyes water, then we advise surgery on both sides to save a second anaesthetic and recovery period. DCR surgery is a day procedure taking less than 90 minutes and recovery is relatively quick. You may shower and wash your hair from day 1 and return to work within a week. 

After DCR Surgery

The only discomfort most people report is an ache at the base of the nose. There may be an initial trickle of blood from the nose which settles over 24 hours. Small packs placed inside the nose at surgery will be removed at the first post-operative visit, following which, nasal rinsing begins to keep the nose clean which is essential to success of the surgery. You can blow your nose once packs are out.

The eye will likely be watery for a few days or weeks and improve once the stent is removed.  Patients notice an improvement anywhere from day 1 to month 3, depending on the cause of watering. If more than one cause exists, such as a blockage and a tear pump problem, then a follow-up procedure will be required.

Appointments are arranged for week 1, 4 and 8. Whilst this surgery is technically invisible to the outside world and creates no skin scarring, some patients experience swelling at the base of the nose with tenderness whilst wearing glasses.