Five Years On


(See Part One of my story here.)

It’s been five years since the dreaded DCR surgery. When I wrote the main content for this site, it was less than a year after I’d had the surgery. I was for all medical purposes ‘recovered’ from the operation, but I didn’t really know what the long-term consequences would be. I suppose that you can never know until you live it. And now—that’s exactly what I’ve done. I’ve gone on living, working, trying my best to have a normal life despite the obstacles, inconveniences, and psychological hurdles I have to deal with as a result of my DCR surgery. It hasn’t been easy, and I haven’t given up on finding permanent relief, but to an extent I am just trying to make the best of it and not let the side effects rule my life, despite their ever-present and painful nature.

In the following writing, I’ll share with you what’s improved, what hasn’t, and the sometimes-tortuous journey I’ve taken to eliminate the symptoms that resulted from the surgery, especially (and ironically) my severe dry eye. The dryness in my left eye (the one I had the surgery on) has become progressively worse with time. And, although my doctors don’t know exactly why, the right eye has begun to experience substantial dryness (though not nearly as bad as the right side, of course). It’s a mysterious thing, but sometimes when there is a problem on one side of the body, the opposite side follows. It may have something to do with the nervous system and how it connects from right to left.

It’s not all bad news, though. Read on and you’ll see how I’ve managed to find some substantial relief, and what I’m doing to find even better solutions today.

Temporary ‘Solutions’: Artificial Tears and Ointment

It’s certainly been a tedious five years. I continued applying artificial tears every five to fifteen minutes for two years. It’s difficult and sometimes embarrassing to drop them into my eyes in public, wherever I am—at a supermarket, on a train, during work. I get funny stares from people as I wipe up excess dripping down my face, and it leads to many awkward, uncomfortable, and generally unnerving moments. As often as I’ve tried to just bear the pain, the pain wins and forces applications of drops, regardless of what I’m in the middle of doing.

One particular time I was at a festival and was exploring all the stalls. The festival was indoors with strong air conditioning, and my eyes (especially the left) became very uncomfortable. So for the 20th or so time during the festival I applied the artificial tears, wiped the excess and continued exploring the stalls. Then one stall owner became very concerned and asked, ‘Ohhh, are you crying?’ I explained that I had just applied artificial tears and they make the eyes look as if I’ve just had a cry. That one instance might not sound like much, but now multiply it by a thousand and you are approaching what I’ve dealt with for the past five years. It affects the way people perceive me, and even the way I perceive myself.

It’s difficult to enjoy yourself with such a nuisance to deal with. Searching for a vial of artificial tears in a pocket, choosing a spot or corner to apply it, tipping the head back, keeping the hand steady as it’s squeezed in (try doing it whilst in a moving vehicle!), then searching for a bundle of tissues to wipe the dripping. Eventually it gets to your nerves and causes anxiety, especially when it’s done 20 or more times a day. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy. To make matters worse, I’ve had problems with anxiety in the past, making it even more difficult to deal with. That anxiety was well controlled before my DCR surgery. But having worry about tending to my eyes five to ten times an hour—often in crowded situations or other instances when it wouldn’t usually be appropriate to apply eye drops—has led to relapses.

The impact of frequent eye drop application on work and social life is significant. Imagine attending full day conferences with business associates in air-conditioned rooms. It’s almost impossible! In those situations, it’s not possible to rely on artificial tears. Even the gel varieties evaporate in minutes and pain returns. Only ointments don’t evaporate as frequently. Since they are made from paraffin wax, they remain on the eyes for up to three hours. So before special functions such as a business conference, I’d saturate my eyes with ointments. It provided a reprieve of constant pain and frequent eye drop application and allowed me to concentrate on the conference.

However, by lunchtime my eyes would become very red and require further application of ointment. The second application is put onto red and irritated eyes, and only makes them worse. At this point, I’m forced to take regular toilet breaks to splash water over my red and painful eyes in an attempt to soothe them. Eventually I have to take oral pain medication to get through the remainder of the conference. By the end, I’ve missed important parts of the lectures and often disturbed those around me a number of times with having to get up or dig through my bag.

It wasn’t until after having fussed with ointments for at least a year that I read eye ointment has been speculated to make dry eyes worse. Since it’s made with a paraffin wax, it’s not water-soluble. While on one hand this prevents it from being washed out by tears, it can also prevent the eye surface from being covered from any natural tear production. Natural tears contain electrolytes and various substances needed to nourish the eye surface and ointments prevent that from happening.

Searching for Surgical Solutions: Punctal Plugs

Diagram of the tear drainage system.

Having suffered so much pain and discomfort, it was finally obvious artificial tears were not the answer. I was desperate for a better solution. At first, after the experience with DCR, I avoided surgeons. I had lost faith in surgeons in general, and felt like I could never trust a surgeon again. But I couldn’t continue the way I was, so eventually I consulted a new oculoplastic surgeon for treatment of dry eye.

I was pleasantly surprised by the consultation. I instantly gained a rapport with her and could see she was a compassionate and thoughtful surgeon who understood what I’d been through. She listened, letting me do most of the talking, and then answered all of my questions. After a long discussion, we decided to give an outer punctal plug a try, and she put in the largest punctal plug available. Indeed, the punctal plug had to be very large since the puncta on my left eye are overly large due to DCR. The next day, the punctal plug fell out. It was just too loose, and no company makes an external plug large enough to fit my surgically dilated puncta.

I was offered punctal plugs that go further into the puncta (into the canaliculus) where less dilatation occurs. However, many people have had these plugs migrate into the tear sac, requiring surgery for removal. I wasn’t comfortable with this idea, but I was glad to have had the option and the risks explained to me so that I could make my own informed decision.

Punctal cauterization was another possible solution. But since it’s not reversible, I didn’t want to go through another eye operation and cause further complications. So I thanked this surgeon and continued on my way—and on my way to a major breakthrough!

Other Non-Surgical Solutions: Moisture Chamber Glasses

At this point, I purchased a pair of ‘moisture chamber glasses’ from Dry Eye Shop, and it was a major leap forward. These glasses worked! They have a foam seal on the backside of the frames and fit flush against the skin (think goggles) to keep the eyes in a sealed chamber. This creates a warm and humid environment, and prevents evaporation of the watery layer on the eye. Small vents and a special coating prevent fog build up on the inside of the lenses. They worked like a dream, and my eyes felt warm and comfortable. I was able to go without applying artificial tears for up to an hour, which was a huge relief. It gave me back an enormous amount of freedom. I could attend conferences without pain, go out with friends and family to a restaurant without discomfort, use computers longer (essential for my work), and enjoy outdoor sports again. I even indulged in paragliding comfortably! I certainly never thought that would be a possibility again. The glasses were a miracle for me. My use of artificial tears was dramatically reduced and my anxiety levels went down with them. I enjoyed the reprieve—whilst it lasted.

The moisture chamber glasses can be purchased with a dark tint for strong sun, or all-day lenses for indoor and outdoor use. Custom prescription lenses are available, too. One drawback is their goggle-like appearance, which is especially noticeable when the lenses are clear. While they are generally rather fashionable, I am questioned about it regularly, and find myself having to tell the same story over and over again. I try to not go into too much detail, but often one question leads to another and next thing I know I’ve had to relive my whole surgery before the questioner is satisfied. At first it didn’t bother. The pain relief outweighed any prodding, judgements, or embarrassment from wearing them. It was a small price to pay. But day in and day out—it wears on me.

Over the following years, my eyes become progressively drier and application of artificial tears increased despite the moisture chambers. I became more sensitive to the slightest breeze of air that snuck into a small gap of the foam corners of the glasses. Being without the glasses for more than a half hour was impossible.

Headache frequency and intensity increased along with the progressing dry eye. Headaches often became migraines, which forced me to nurture my eyes even more and reduce strain as much as possible (getting enough sleep, reducing computer use, etc.). Taking a Panadeine Forte (same as Tylenol with codeine for non-Australians) for a severe migraine at night is not unusual.

Revisiting Surgical Solutions: Smart Plugs and DuraPlugs

Worsening of symptoms forced me back to the oculoplastic surgeon mentioned earlier. We were both focussed on punctal closing without using irreversible or risky options such as intracanalicular plugs or cautery. She had recommended “Smart Plugs”, which are plugs that are inserted into the canaliculus and expand with body heat to occlude the drainage of tears. They are permanent and difficult to remove once inserted. Fortunately, I had already done research on Smart Plugs and knew they have a high complication rate, and that many surgeons refuse to use them. She accepted my refusal graciously, but didn’t quite believe Smart Plugs were as bad as I have suggested. I understand she works on a multitude of eye disorders and cannot possibly keep up with all the research available.

Closer view of lower puncta. Photo was taken after puncta had been sewn smaller after mini-monaka stent placement. So puncta was larger than displayed here. See here for another view showing both puncta.

I allowed her to insert “DuraPlugs” which work the same way as Smart Plugs (by expanding with body heat), but they dissolve within three months. Within an hour I felt more moisture and tear accumulation on my eyes. It wasn’t a lot, and they didn’t provide enough moisture to go without moisture chamber glasses, but any small improvement was welcome. The small relief was short lived, though, and within about three weeks my left eye became bone dry again.

Since the first trial of DuraPlugs, I’ve had them inserted by a few other ophthalmologists with similar results.  We suspect the reason they don’t work fully is because of the gigantic size of my dilated puncta due to DCR surgery. One particular ophthalmologist said that it’s like “throwing a car into the Grand Canyon”, and he put two DuraPlugs into the largest puncta. In fact, a third Duraplug would have easily fit. With the puncta so large, the plugs couldn’t expand enough to completely occlude the puncta. We had some success pushing them further in, past the puncta and into the canaliculi.

It seems cauterization was the only way to completely occlude the puncta in my situation. But after my DCR, I refuse to have surgery around my eye that is not reversible.

Scleral Lenses

A scleral lens

Meanwhile, I’d heard of these amazing devices called scleral lenses (the sclera is the white part of the eyeball). The scleral lenses are made from a piece of rigid plastic—similar to a large contact lens in design but not material—custom measured and machined to fit your eyeball. It is filled with saline and placed onto the eyeball, providing moisture to the eye all day long.

So, I began a long journey of trial and tribulation to obtain a pair of scleral lenses in Australia. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to find one of the best optometrists in the country for scleral lenses. My optometrist is patient, dedicated, persistent, and has never given up on me despite multiple scleral lens fittings. He vowed to persist as long as I was willing to. To receive such genuine and dedicated service was a huge relief for me, and another huge boost for my confidence in the eye-care community.

The downside is that scleral lenses are very difficult to fit and take multiple modifications and a bit of trial and error. My optometrist is three hours away, and I’ve attended at least twenty consultations in an attempt to obtain a comfortable fit. We are not quiet there yet, but we are at the point where the scleral lenses feel generally comfortable. They are still slightly uncomfortable when first inserted, but within 30 minutes I can barely feel them in my eyes. I can’t wear them all day, but I can wear them for hours. At the moment, we are still adjusting them to enable longer wear time, aiming for a full day of use.

Scleral lenses definitely provide substantial relief for dry eyes, but it depends on how dry your eyes are. An extremely dry eye (such as my left eye) still requires artificial teardrops whilst the sclerals are in. As they begin to dry out, friction occurs between the inner eyelid and scleral lens. Drops need to be applied to provide the lubricating moisture around the outside of the lens. But the teardrops only need to be applied occasionally, not nearly as often as without the lenses. I don’t generally require any teardrops on my least dry eye (the right eye) whilst wearing sclerals, but find I need drops in the left eye, especially if not wearing moisture chamber glasses over the top of the scleral lenses.

Closer look at left upper punctum and the scleral lens

Without the moisture chambers and only wearing scleral lenses, I’ll require drops in the left eye every one to two hours depending on conditions and where I am. If in air conditioning, I may require the drops every thirty minutes at the most. The same applies if facing a headwind outdoors. But usually I’ll wear my moisture chamber glasses over the scleral lenses if outdoors in strong wind.

My particular scleral lenses are 18mm in diameter and thus don’t cover the entire exposed sclera, so they are bound to feel some discomfort. But it’s important to note that the discomfort is nowhere near the unbearable pain of not wearing scleral lenses and facing the wind with exposed eyes. The most sensitive part of the eye is the cornea (the layer that covers the iris and pupil). The cornea is totally covered by the scleral lens. So whilst the most sensitive part of the eye is covered, other areas of the eye will be uncomfortable to a degree without adequate moisture.

Compared to applying drops every five to fifteen minutes without sclerals, once an hour with them is fantastic! Being able to have eye-to-eye contact during a conversation without wearing distracting goggle-like moisture chamber glasses is also nice. All in all, for me, it has definitely been worth the expense and tedious fitting process of scleral lenses.

Mini-Monaka Stents

Mini-monaka stent being inserted into a patient’s eye.

Amidst my long fitting process with the scleral lenses, my oculoplastic surgeon and I continued to explore other options. She suggested the use of mini-monaka stents as an alternative to punctal plugs. Mini-monaka stents are used to repair canaliculus lacerations, not generally used as punctal plugs. However, they fit the criteria for me because they had features that prevented them from migrating into the tear sac, they would not fall out and could be removed (thus reversed). They were also softer on the eyeball than conventional plugs. So I went ahead with the surgery and had them put into both lower puncta. The surgery was done under general anaesthetic and the left lower punctum was sewn tight around the stent to make it hold.

I didn’t notice much improvement, perhaps because my left eye is so exceptionally dry and only the lower puncta were stented (still allowing drainage from the upper puncta). Unfortunately, within a short time the lower punctum of the left eye (the DCR eye) developed a reaction and pushed the stent out. My right eye still has the stent.

So the mini-monaka stents were not a real success for me, and I wasn’t at the stage with scleral lenses to wear them daily. My surgeon was out of options and offered the previous suggestions of Smart Plugs and cautery—neither of which were appealing to me because of possible complications.


It seems scleral lenses are the best option—if I could ever get a pair made to fit properly! I’ve been through many scleral lens pairs, many consultations, and, after a full year, I still don’t have a pair that fit perfectly. So onward I continued with drops and moisture chamber glasses as the only treatments used reliably. Occasionally I’d use a heat pack on my eyes and express the glands in the eyelids for extra relief.

The months passed, and I’ve gone on with my life as best I can.  The only new treatment I tried was cyclosporine drops (Restasis), which offered some relief when combined with punctal plugs, but not a lot. My optometrist has painstakingly measured and analysed each pair of modified scleral lens, and we are closer to our goal. Currently, my scleral lenses feel very comfortable and I can wear them up to six hours a day. We are continuing modifications until twelve hours we acheieve twelve hours of comfortable wear-time. Unfortunately, getting the lenses in can be an ordeal. It often takes a lot of tinkering and adjustment to get them to sit right. Some days, especially when in a hurry, I won’t insert them because I don’t have the time to. I’ll admit, many experienced scleral lens wearers can insert them very quickly, without fuss. I supposed I’m just not as experienced with them yet.

I’ve had two major goals for this writing. On one hand, I want to show others going through similar circumstances that there is hope. There are options worth pursuing. Even solutions that didn’t work for me might work for you. I know it’s hard to trust surgeons after feeling betrayed by them, but the right surgeon can help you find relief. Try to find a surgeon who will listen to you and explain all of your options, as well as the risks. If the surgeon seems arrogant and rushed, just walk away. You deserve better. You are the client, the customer, the dependant. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Don’t let your doctor be a bully. You’re free to walk out of the office at any time and take your business and your wellbeing elsewhere. Always remember that.

On the other hand, my second major goal is to demonstrate to the world at large—including and especially oculoplastic surgeons—that the risks involved with DCR are very real, and have a lasting impact. It’s easy to dismiss a risk on paper, but try living it out. Try living for five years with your eye so dry and painful that your eyelid feels like sandpaper. Try living that out, looking for solutions, taking two steps forward and one step back. Yes, I’ve found some relief, but the problem is far from fixed. In all likelihood, it will be years before I can find a permanent solution. In fact, for all we know, I may never find one. That is the reality of the risk you are willing to write off. It’s real, not just hypothetical.

I am hopeful, though. I’m hopeful that I will find permanent relief from my DCR-induced dry eye, and that this writing will save at least one person from unnecessary surgical risks. When a DCR needs to be done, then it needs to be done. At that point, the risks will have to be weighed out. But how often does it really need to be done? How often do patients really need to take these risks? That is the question we need to ask.

Thanks for reading my story. I hope it helps you. See my Blog page for updates.

 Posted by on October 10, 2012

  20 Responses to “Five Years On”

  1. Thanks for your story. It was so insightful and my thoughts and sympathies go out to you. What a journey you’ve had but blogging it has been a way to share it with so many others. I too have a watery eye now and again but I think its more or less old age setting in (Im in my late 40s ) I believe after reading your story that a bit of tears now and again needing to be mopped up is minimal. Good luck and I will use this info to help forward the work of providing effective treatment.
    regards and best wishes. Colleen Brown

  2. Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful article.
    Thanks for supplying this info.

  3. I am so glad that I have read your story. My 88 year old mother has clogged tear ducts, same story they did the test and all of the sudden in a second SURGERY. Nothing said about the bone issue and didnt seem to care she had a pace maker ect. I hope I can find a Doctor in the Texas medical center in Houston that can do the ballon for her. If you have any suggestions in the mean time please let me know. Did you buy the antibiotic eye drops over the counter at the drug store? Doris

    • Hi Doris,
      I’m glad you found my site and read my story and experience. Half the battle is finding an open minded oculoplastic surgeon since most of them have a robotic mind thinking. Unfortunately, since I’m in Australia I’m not aware of anyone who performs the non-invasive techniques for epiphora in the US. Two strategies you could try are:

      1. Call a few dozen Ophthalmologist/Oculoplatic surgeons office and ask if they perform the procedure your mother prefers. Don’t be discouraged by everyone saying no, you will find them and they are out there. In fact, many prefer to use the alternative and safer techniques.

      2. Call the companies supplying the surgical equipment such as the LACRIcath at Quest Medical – Do a search for LACRIcath and see who else stocks it and whom they distribute it too.

      Please also enquire if they use they insert a ‘stent’ after the balloon dilatation to ensure patency.

      Good luck, and do let us know how you get on.

  4. I have been dealing with excessive tearing for months now ( and this is not the first time). I had tear ducts cauterized many years ago and this stopped the tearing for a few years. My eyes are dry but the left one is the pro blem one. One of the many drs. i saw recommended that surgery and am so glad I found your story. I don’t know where to turn as n ow my eyelid is drooped and I think it is from all the steroid medications that i have used. One ophthalmologist. told me that my lid won’t go back to normal but in the past it has returned to normal. At my wit’s end! Now i am about to try Restasis again.

    • I’m a little confused with your explanation. If you had excessive tearing, how exactly does cauterizing the tear ducts stop the tearing, or was it another procedure? Cauterizing the tear ducts would make the tearing worse due to providing further blockage. I agree about the steroids causing drooping eye since they thin the skin with ongoing use, and eyelid skin is very thin naturally. My left eye is still slightly dropped 7 yrs after my DCR procedure.

      So whatever intervention you had, you are no longer ‘tearing’ and you now have dry eyes? However, your left eye is a problem? How specifically is it a problem? Is it tearing? I imagine it would be otherwise DCR would not be recommended.

      Are you going to use Restasis in your right eye only?

      Could you please provide more clarification. Thanks.

  5. Boy oh boy! After cataract surgery on March 10, 2013 my left eye never really got back to normal. I blame it on the eye drops with the steroids in them, Tobradex. The ophthalmologist had me on them for too long I’m sure. I had a little inflammation she said. I was off them for a while but then my eye got bloodshot and the eyelid drooped and the weeping started so she put me on them again. I was leery because by then I had read that they could bring about the same conditions they were supposed to treat but I trusted her because she did a wonderful job on my right eye about 4 years before this. No complications whatsoever.
    After 4 months on them and no improvement to the above mentioned complications I told her I was done with steroids. She referred me to another doctor who, she said, could fix the weeping. By the way, I didn’t have any infection at any time.
    I went through the same thing that you did.
    This next doctor (after confirming the tear duct was blocked), went right on to show me on a diagram of the eye just exactly what he was going to do when doing a DCR. He did not tell me there could be other options though and he did not tell me the whole truth about what exactly to expect from the DCR.
    I was really going to do it and actually had the blood work and EKG done and a date set 14 days from then. I started thinking rationally then though. I have been skeptical of doctors all my life.
    I got on the internet and what I found was very disturbing. I immediately cancelled the surgery. I had not even seen your site yet. I only saw it today, 4 days after my office visit. You have more horrors of post surgery than I ever read at the beginning of my browsing. I am so sorry for you but I am glad I came to my senses in time to avoid all that you are going through. I will deal with the tears. It’s better than the dry eyes and all that.
    I pray that you will find more relief as time goes by.
    Thank you for saving a lot of folks the misery that you yourself have and still are having. Good luck.

  6. George…..There is a place in Heaven for you…and I really mean that….In the history of medicine
    Someone has to TELL THEIR STORY…for science and Medicine to find it’s way….but I also
    believe we need to Research….know WHY?…and HOW ?…this develops. What are the ages?…Demographics ?…and what it really us and how it Starts? ….There all different stages…and just like other diseases…a progression of the condition… obvious…

    For me….and my being in tune with my body and it’s changes…over the years had a Swelling-up….of my extremities….NO Warning…and of course NO Name…then at 40 years old an internal
    Swelling which threw me into an apocalyptic attack…but still NO Name..ust swelling..

    In 2006…and again in 2009..(living in the Bahamas)…had two major Swelling Attacks…but as GOD was on my side…..a specialist in my condition..(leaving island and at the airport) was called in….I had NO breath…but had found a sliver in my throat that took short slow weezing…but I knew I was at Death’s door…
    This doctor laid his head on my pillow and Talked me thru an experimental drug…to open my chest and throat area…and breathed with me…I was unrecognizable….from head to toe…no eyes.ears…my tongue had swollen up completely and I could not close my mouth..under chin was like a frog….entire body was 5 times the size
    After a few days…this Doctor told me that Everything in my body had swollen up…even my brain…and heart…the swelling would decrease to normal….and externally…I would seem OK.. but over the years…some external organs might show damage from the swelling and receding…
    especially Clogging, Mucus. Headaches.Tumors and internal pain…There was still no way to assess the damage from swelling.
    But one of the best part of it all……He was able to put a Name to the Infirmity…ANGIOENDEMA

    MY RESULTS??…..I have lost ALL of my teeth..(no pain)…just dropped out in a sandwich or a brushing…..Watery Eyes…red…no pain…skin underneath eyes black…
    ????? So would I trust a doctor who will not tell me …What and Why ???
    Research Angioendema’s Association..(Yes) one form of it is Hereditary….
    I am still researching thru Homeopathic

    GOD BLESS YOU GEORGE……Continue to be your own advocate

  7. I have had blocked tear ducts for 2 years. I’m 35 years old (Female). Both of my tear ducts are closed. The blockage is in the canaliculus. I had a 3 snip procedure but that did not help at all. A DCR surgery is not an option for me as my upper tear ducts are completely closed and can not be opened. I was told that JONES tubes are my only option which I refused and I persuaded the Doctor to try the mini monka stents to keep the canaliculus open and that did not help as well. I’m so scared of the JONES tubes as they are permanent glass tubes that will need regular maintenance. I really don’t know what to do :-(((((

  8. Would welcome the name of the last surgeon you saw who was attentive ,thanks ,I presently have a full obstruction of the tear duct and would like to seek out various options ,thanks ,Renata

    • Hi Renata, what country are you in? I can think of three surgeons in Australia whom were very attentive. You’ll find them on a website a colleague and I run at – the three surgeons I particularly like are: Dr. Brendan Cronin at the
      Queensland Eye Institute, website: and Dr. Tai Smith also at the
      Queensland Eye Institute, website: And the third surgeon I’ve seen and benefited from is not listed, but I found her very caring and attentive and she’s well aware how DCR can cause dry eyes: Dr Maryla Stelmach at Epworth, 89 Bridge Rd, Richmond VIC 3121, Phone: (03) 9428 4299 her website address:

      Now, if you’re not in Australia grrrrrrr. I’m sure someone else in Australia might see these recommendations 🙂

      We all look forward to knowing how you go, please do write back and inform of you’re progress.

  9. Thank you so much George for taking the time to tell your story. You suffering has helped me.

    Yesterday 1st September I cancelled a ‘three snip’ procedure on the puncta which was due to happen on 5th September.

    I cancelled it mostly on gut feeling, that I was getting into something I didn’t know enough about, that could have negative and irreversible side effects, and that I hadn’t explored any natural option, despite the surgeon saying it was ‘safe’.

    I felt the initial consultation on 18th August was very rushed, and the surgeon didn’t even name the procedure, but said she could do a ‘minor op’ that would open the puncta and flush out the tear sac, and that if that didn’t work she would do a DCR for which she gave me an information leaflet.

    This last week I have felt more and more concerned, but only a couple of days ago I got the letter naming the procedure. ‘Three snip’ got me worried and a 90 sec youtube convinced me that I did not want this surgery. Or certainly not yet.

    I have employed natural methods for decades to heal things that in conventional medicine would have involved drugs or surgery. So my plan now is:
    Sept – try regular massage to see if this improves anything
    October – consult a naturopath or ayurvedic practitioner
    November – find someone who will provide conservative procedures that you have so clearly described, like syringing, stents etc

    Again, many thanks George, your site is a valuable resource.

    • Hi Mary, you are very welcome and thanks for posting. It seems logical to first go for the non-invasive procedures, those that don’t permanently alter the delicate structures of eye and nasal tissue. You are going on your ‘gut feelings’ here and acting on them! Well done! Not many people have the courage to go against their doctors advice. Indeed, sometimes their advice isn’t always for the best and it pays to get a second, third and even a fourth opinion if possible.

      I admire your plan of action and would advise the same thing! Alternative medicine practitioners can offer a wealth of information and possible treatment strategies not found elsewhere. Be patient though, watery eye is a nuisance and these alternatives take time to work.

      Please keep us up to date with your progress. All the best!

      • Thanks George. I’ll keep you posted.

        I am so grateful to your generous spirit that continues to help those of us with the good fortune to find your site.

        My heart goes out to you every time I read more of what you have gone, and still go, through. What courage you have!

        Best wishes


  10. I also have gone through the journey of discovery. At first i was diagnosed with one eye blocked. After two years it is now both eyes. It is annoying but the tears are irregular. I am starting to feel that I can put up with this after reading the outcome of DCR. My op is supposed to occur in Feb 2017. Think I might opt out…. MS

  11. Thank you for sharing your journey with your epiphoria issues. I am 37 years old living in the US and I have experienced the same problem over the last few years. I underwent a balloon dilation, stent placement, 3 snip and finally went through with the DCR over a year ago. I had initial relief from the constant tearing for almost a year, then the same eye started tearing back up again. If I flush my lower puncta, I get some temporary relief for a day or so, but it’s right back to tearing after that. I notice if I haven’t gotten enough sleep or if I’m stressed the tearing is worse. I also find it interesting that a similarity is that several people have described a noticeable drooping of the affected eye’s lid, which is something I experience as well. I’m wondering if having excessive skin is putting pressure somewhere in the plumbing and is contributing to the problem. ~sigh~ Well, I’ll be contacting the surgeon again this week and I think some glass tubes are in my future as I don’t know what else to do at this point. It’s comforting hearing that others are experiencing the same problem as I am.

    Meghan in CO

  12. I really feel sorry and am so confused with your story. I am now suffering with extreme watery eyes and have been put on the same fluoromethol eye drops. I have avoided social activities as my face is always wet and my makeup looks all washed out. I am now retired and I can not imagine working looking like I do as I always wanted a fresh look. After showering I always sat and applied makeup and felt ready to face the world. Now i want to hide.

    I don’t know exactly how I feel about surgery or to live with watery eyes. I am a library person and have been very happy to read at least two books a week and puzzles all the time. Now I can barely read an article and I feel achy. I have trust in my doctor and know he will be very honest. He has not mentioned tear ducts as of yet as maybe it is too soon. I never knew of this condition so this is so new to me.

    I do not know of a person in my neighborhood or my friends that have had this condition.

    I do wish you the best.

    • Hi Gina, thanks for writing to us. It seems you haven’t yet been diagnosed with a ‘blocked tear duct. If your surgeon hasn’t mentioned ‘ducts’ before then we don’t know what’s causing your water eyes. For example, it could be due to ‘dry eyes’ or ‘allergy eyes.

      If you receive a confirmed diagnosis that your tear duct is blocked, then you’ll most likely be recommended to have DCR surgery. I understand you trust your doctor, but this a site to warn people about the unnecessary overuse of DCR surgery.

      Let us know how you get on.

  13. much appreciated info, very much
    has anyone found any docs in USA other than Bruce B. Becker, Encino CA?

  14. One thing that has helped with the nasal area pain and swelling is doing a neti-pot twice a day with distilled water and salt. I have non-allergic rhinitis also, which may have contributed to my tear duct problem.
    I have been advised by two ocular surgeons to have a DCR just by doing the syringe test. The first doctor said “I perform External DCR’s, I will schedule you”. I told him since it wasn’t an immediate emergency, I would look into it. Then the second doctor, after I told him I absolutely would refuse an External DCR he said he would need to test to see if an Endo DCR was possible. Readers be careful, I believe this doctor was going to take me into Endo DCR surgery and if he couldn’t do it (due to small nasal passage) he was going to switch to Ext DCR!
    After reading your information, I refuse any DCR. I do believe you saved me, so thank you! I will follow your advice of macrodacrocystogram, probing, balloon dilatation and a stent, if I can just find a willing doctor.
    I am scheduled to see a third Ocular surgeon in Jan. 2024 and have made a list of how I want to proceed and if he cannot accommodate, I will ask for him to refer me to a doctor who is familiar with the more conservative methods. I have spent days on the internet trying to locate a surgeon that performs alternative treatments besides a DCR. When I email or call them, their office staff tells me the doctor would like me to schedule an appointment. None of them will answer the simple question of ‘do you ever perform probing or balloon dilation catheter for a blocked tear duct on an adult’ without scheduling an appointment. Answering the question would only take a minute of their time, very frustrating.
    I wished the doctors would follow the same procedures that a pediatric doctor does for a child’s blocked tear duct. I have found very good information on
    My questions are: I am on the USA west coast, does anyone know of a conservative Ocular surgeon and or institution that have these conservative procedures? Has anyone tried to see if a pediatric ocular surgeon would help them?
    Thank you George for taking your time to help people, you are AMAZING and also talented to start a much needed website.

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