Monday, October 12, 2009

What it's like...

Here is a blog (pictures soon to follow) of my experience with the DCR surgery, aka, the "blocked tear duct" surgery. When I was told I'd have to have this surgery, I went searching for everything I could find on it. I found lots of medical journals, stating what they would do to my eye, but nothing about personal experience.

So, here you go... my personal experience with the DCR surgery... The pictures aren't pretty, but they're real. And trust me, it was embarrassing to take these, and to post these, but I thought maybe someone else could benefit from my experience.


The day before the surgery, I was scared, but after the reassurances from my husband and everyone else, I was staying pretty calm. I scheduled my surgery for a Friday, as my doctor told me if I did it on a Friday, I could return to work on Monday, but if I did it Thursday, I wouldn't be able to return until Monday.

The scheduling nurse had told me I would need 4x4 guaze for after the surgery, an ice pack, and I couldn't take Advil or any type of aspirin 4 days prior to surgery. (As a migraine sufferer, this was horrible news.) But, I was still prepared when I went to the building.

I was told to arrive an hour prior to surgery, and that I'd have to stay an hour after surgery. (The surgery itself would only take 15 minutes, they said.) No jewelry from the neck up, and no makeup. Ugh. They also said to wear loose, comfortable clothing, and preferably something that I wouldn't have to pull over my head.


Me before surgery:

Day of Surgery:

I went with a velour lounge set I bought in Disneyland a few weeks earlier that had a zip-up hoodie. With no makeup on, Don and I drove by my dad as we pulled up to the building. He asked how I was doing, and I replied, "Scared."

I handed my dad my cross (which is an heirloom left from my grandmother), and asked him to hold it for me through the surgery. I had tried to figure out a way to wrap it around my wrist, but the necklace wasn't long enough and ultimately I decided not safe enough.

My husband and I in the waiting room... Nice without makeup, huh? =P:

I wasn't kept waiting long after I checked in, and I turned to my dad and husband and must have given them such a look of sheer terror that the nurse, when I approached her, told me they could come into the back with me. Relieved, I quickly beckoned them over, and they came.

We followed her to a back room, with a nurses station centered in the middle. Beds with curtains hanging around them and lots of monitors and tubes stuffed into the mini cubicles surrounded the beds.

The nurse (who was super nice and incredibly amazing) asked me a few questions, then told me how things would proceed. I was shown to a bathroom and given a key on a flexible cord, and they weighed me before asking me to give a urine sample. Then she asked me to put on the robe once I disrobed from above the waist.

My locker:

Me in an awesome hospital gown:


So I changed into the robe, stored my stuff in the locker she indicated, and made my way out to the bed. I handed my husband the key to my locker, and climbed onto the bed. They put this OH so lovely hair net on me, then strapped these little discs on cords to my chest to monitor my breathing and heart rate. She also stuck one of those little clamp things on my finger.

Note: Apparently taking in a deep breath through your nose and pursing your lips as you exhale really does slow your breathing and heart rate. By a lot. Who knew?

Eventually the guy with the IV came over and gave me a shot to numb the pain from the giant IV needle, and by the time the IV was going in, the area was so numb I thought he was still preparing for the IV when he said, "All done!" Then he taped it down to the back of my hand and to my arm so it wouldn't pull or get tangled, and he was gone.

A little bit later the anestheologist came over and stuck something in my IV, saying, "This is just an appetizer, to see how much you need."

I don't remember much after that, except everyone laughing at me when I started getting dazed.

Then I heard, "You're in recovery, and everything went perfectly with your surgery."

My throat hurt. My nose hurt REALLY bad. I opened my eye--the other one was blocked off by a heavy weight of guaze and tape--and smiled up at her, and said, "My throat hurts. Is that normal?"

"Yes," she assured me. "There was a tube in there."

I nodded, and pressed my finger against my nose. It REALLY, REALLY hurt. "My nose hurts," I told her. I sat up in the bed, tilting my head forward as the blinding pain struck again. "Really bad."

"Okay. Let's get something for that. On a scale of 1-10, how much does it hurt?"

"Like a six?"


A moment later, the anestheologist came over and poked something into my IV. The pain in my nose subsided a little, and when asked for the pain on a scale, I answered, "It's getting better... A four or so?"

Satisfied, they took out my IV, which I didn't even feel, and then put tape and guaze over the wound.

Another nurse came over and asked about my locker key. I told her my husband had it, and a few minutes later she came back with my purse and my clothes. She helped me get the robe off, and modestly I held it in front of myself while I changed into the zip-up hoodie I'd been wearing earlier that morning. I laughed at myself while I changed, "Look at me," I laughed, embarrassed, "trying to cover up in front of a nurse when I'm sure you see this all the time."

She laughed politely and assured me it was fine, then I was taken to a seat beside the bed, where the intense pain in my nose started to come back at an alarming rate. They offered me my choice of juice and I selected apple even though it upsets my stomach, and I sipped on it as I pressed my finger against my nose to try and hold it off. My dad and husband joined me in the back, and another nurse came over and asked how I was doing.

"My nose hurts," I told her, trying to stay calm.

"That's not really surprising. Actually, where you're pressing is right where they were working."

I laughed weakly. "So I probably shouldn't press there, huh?"

She smiled. "It's probably not a great idea. Hang on a sec and we'll get you something for the pain. Do you want one or two vicodin?"

"Two," I answered quickly, knowing full well that one never worked. (I used to take Vicodin for my migraines.)

Everyone laughed, and I was brought saltine crackers, which once consumed, was followed by a tiny cup of vicodin. I all-but gobbled them up.

The nurse gave us instructions for post-surgery with a print-out sheet of instructions, and then I was discharged.

"My nose hurts," I complained as we walked, trying not to press on it.

"Well you just had surgery," my dad returned.

"This sucks," I muttered, praying the vicodin would kick in soon.

We went home, and as part of my discharge instructions, I was told that I had to sleep sitting up, with about four pillows behind me to help stop the swelling. So I climbed into bed, stuffed four pillows behind my head (I usually sleep with two anyway), and promptly fell asleep while sitting up. For the rest of the day I dozed in and out of sleep. I was amazed I could sleep sitting up, but it actually worked better than I thought it would. At one point I woke up and tried to eat soup, as the instructions say to eat a light diet for twelve hours post-surgery, but I promptly threw it up, making me feel worse than I had before I'd eaten.


Day Two: Day After Surgery

The pain was excrutiating. My stomach wouldn't stop churning. I could feel gunk sliding down my throat, and when I coughed/squeezed it up, it was all blood. The sight of it made me sick, but my husband was quick to remind me that they said this would probably happen. Still, hearing it would happen and seeing it happen were very different.

I was popping one-two vicodin every hour or two to keep the pain at bay, but that only made the nausea worse. It was absolutely miserable. I sat up in bed and moaned while clutching my stomach, trying not to press on my nose/eye (which felt like someone had blown air into my cheekbone), and just trying to stay calm.

It was also the day I could take off the patch they'd put over my eye. Eagerly I went to the mirror, and made my husband sit with me while I peeled the tape off.

The horror that looked back at me in the mirror would have made me thrown up if I'd had anything in my stomach.

I was grotesque. Under my eye was black and blue with deep shades of red, there was a nasty, jagged line of stitches about an inch long (so much for a centimeter-long incision!), and my eye looked mis-shapen from the swelling. I was a monster.

I actually swallowed a scream. I held back my tears (can't get the stitches wet for 36 hours). I tried to speak, but nothing came out until, "...I'm hideous."

"It's healing," my husband assured me quickly. "You're healing. It's okay. The swelling will go down."

I took the 4x4 guaze the doctor's office had given us and taped it over my eye so neither my husband nor I would have to look at me. I laid in bed and stared emptily at the TV. I've always maintained that I am not pretty enough to have a scar or anything seriously wrong with me. This was my worst nightmare come true.

My mom came over and brought some food. I went down to greet her and showed her my eye, and she gave me a sympathetic look but reassured me, "That's going to heal so well. There's not going to be a scar at all. It looks really good."

Ha, I thought. I'll be disfigured forever.

The intense pain went long-into the night, and I was overdosing on Vicodin so much that even I was concerned. (And I'm a migraine sufferer, so overdosing on meds is pretty standard for me.) But I just kept popping pills and tried to sleep a bit (all the while sitting up) so the time would pass faster. I also started using the ice pack the doctor told me to use, applying it to my eye every hour for 15-20 minutes. The ice pack helped more than I can possibly express. The coldness was soothing on the pain in my head and the swelled flesh under my eye. But nothing could help the nausea, except for a couple of pretzels, and even that didn't last long.

Day Three

My eye was still pretty gross-looking, still pretty swollen, but I was starting to feel better. The nausea wasn't as severe, and even though when I took the guaze off to apply the cream to my stitches and in the corner of my eye over my tear ducts it was really hard and uncomfortable to blink, there wasn't as much pain as there had been the day before.

Or so I thought.

Soon enough, the pain was back, and all of Sunday, day three, passed with me trying to get as much Vicodin into my system as I could handle to manage the pain. I still couldn't eat much, but at least food was staying down. I think I had two handfuls of pretzels all day.

At one point a drop of water fell from under the guaze, and I bolted up from the bed and dashed to the mirror, thinking something had broken or popped or something. But no, it was just a tear that had welled up and not been caught by the guaze. The doctor also said that I might continue to tear up until the stent came out (that's the little tube connecting your tear ducts that they put in and put down your nose to open up your tear ducts) in three months. So after breathing a sigh of relief that my eye was still there and my cheek sadly still puffy, I went back to bed.

Day Four: Monday

Same as Sunday, only the swelling was starting to look better. It was still hard to blink and my right cheek still felt like it was twice the size of my other cheek, but mostly better. I was running out of vicodin to keep the pain at bay. I was supposed to switch to warm compresses, but I continued with the ice to keep trying to reduce swelling, and because it helped the pain.

I worked on Monday, though if I hadn't been able to work from home, I probably wouldn't have gone in.

Day Five: Tuesday

Excrutiating pain. Swelling. Running out of vicodin. I'd taken at least ten by Tuesday at 1:00 P.M. I'd called the doctor and begged for an appointment to make sure nothing was wrong. They scheduled me for a 2:30 appointment, where I was kept in the waiting room for a half-hour.

When the doctor finally came into the room, I opened my mouth to talk and tell him what was wrong, and all that came out were tears and sobs.

"I'm in pain," I told him tearfully. "Please, help me."

Through my tears I explained that I was a migraine sufferer, and this could just be a very intense migraine, but the pain was all coming from pressure around my right eye--the right cheekbone, the right temple, even on the right side of my forehead. I apologized profusely for crying, but the pain was just too overwhelming. I couldn't function or focus on anything but it.

He quickly went into action, writing out perscriptions for Percocet and anti-nausea medication while telling me that my eye looked really good and was definitely not infected. I was relieved that he had asked if I was nauseous and didn't have to bring it up, because at that point all I could really do was cry.

"You were an interesting case," he told me. "You actually had a tear STONE in your eye, which was why the problem kept repeating. But we took it out, and the surgery went really well. Your eye looks really good."

He explained what a tear stone was, but I was in so much pain I missed it.

My husband and I dropped off my new perscriptions, then I went home and just sat in bed while we waited for the medicine to be ready. An hour later my husband returned, I popped the pills, and immediately got sick to my stomach... Again. Despite the anti-nausea meds.

It was awesome.

I went to bed early. I think the Percocet knocked me out.

Day Six: Wednesday

By far the worst morning I've had so far. I woke up at 6 when my alarm went off with the worst, most excrutiating, most painful migraine I've ever had in my life. I couldn't move my head or a BLINDING pain hit me. I took a Percocet and for the first time in days laid down in bed and tried not to cry as I tried to sleep again.

I woke up at 7:00 when my alarm went off again, still in horrible pain, and after shutting it off, took another Percocet and tried to fall asleep again.

I woke up on my own around 8:30, still with a dull pain in the back of my head, but better than it had been earlier, when I'd been prepared to go to the ER. I signed into work, and every couple hours, in fear that the pain would return, popped another Percocet.

Yesterday I took the guaze off of my eye (I'd been keeping it taped over my eye since I'd unveiled the hideousness of myself earlier) and I've left it off since then except to sleep. I'm horribly blind without my contacts, so I have one contact in (glasses would press against the stitches) and so I have lovely double-vision of everything.

My eye feels much more swollen than it did yesterday, probably because I laid down this morning. I also finally switched to the warm compresses.

My husband told me that he asked the doctor yesterday (during my blindness caused by pain) about whether I could fly on Friday night (yes), and whether I could sleep laying down yet (not for another few days to decrease the chance of swelling).

So that brings me to today, where the blinding pain has subsided due to Percocet, but is definitely still there, and where unfortunately, the swelling appears to be returning. My eye still leaks/tears up occasionally, so I always have tissues with me. And I'm still putting that ointment on my stitches and in my tear ducts to prevent infection.


One thing I will say for Percocet... Everyone makes it sound like you can't work or function while on it, but it's not true. You can. It just makes the pain go away. So that was a huge relief.

Day Seven: Thursday

Last night I was finally able to eat some food that wasn't pretzels or straight bread without feeling nauseous. I actually ate pepperoni pizza and pizza bites. It was amazing.

Before bed I took two Percocet, hoping I wouldn't wake up with a killer headache.

It didn't work.

The pain wasn't as bad as it was yesterday, but it was still pretty horrible. I took two Percocet when I woke up.
Two weeks later:
Reading this is crazy. I was in so much pain; I almost forgot.
My husband and I were vacation for a week, and while we were gone, the swelling in my eye went down completely. My stitches started coming out, which happened when I noticed that it looked like skin or something was around my stitches. (Sounds gross, I know...) I scratched it, and the stitch came out! Dissolvable stiches are awesome.
I started scratching a little more over the next couple of days, but it just hurts. LOL! Guess the stitches aren't all ready to come out. But they are coming out, and they're far, far less noticable now. Most of the darkness around the stitches is gone, and while you can still see it close-up and far-away, it's almost non-existent.
While we were on vacation, our waiter asked me if I had stitches (it was a dark place), and I said yes, and he said that he'd had stitches twice on his face, and that my surgeon had done an awesome job. I agreed. It really does look good. My surgeon was amazing. I was lucky. <3
You still can't really see the stent in my eye (the tube that is running in my tear ducts), which is really cool. I thought it would be much more noticable based on the picture I saw online. I can't see it unless I'm pressed up against the mirror and looking for it.
The headaches unfortunately still come and go, but they're manageable with Advil now. So that's good, too. <3
All-in-all, I'm almost completely back to normal except for a little pain. So, YAY!!!
Now, enjoy some pictures of what I look like now, post surgery (and having a fantastic time in Disneyland!). Through the days, you can see the stitches getting lighter, and me finally being able to wear makeup again!


So it will pass... The pain and the stitches, and soon the scar. <3


  1. hey Vivian! we have missed you out here in the blog and twitter world! so glad to see you are healing but i am so sorry there was so much pain. your pics are great! i am glad you are so blessed to have your husband and dad there to take care of you! welcome back!

  2. "I've always maintained that I am not pretty enough to have a scar or anything seriously wrong with me. “

    I disagree completely. You’re pretty enough :)

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I have been contemplating this surgery but had no idea of how painful it is. After reading your blog I am reconsidering my options.


  4. Let me echo Jane in thanking you for writing this. I've just been told that I have to have this done, and I'm terrified. Could I ask what the scar looks like now? Does it fade completely over time?

  5. Thank you so much for your blog!!! I'm in the same position. I have to have the surgery in a few weeks. I am worried about side you have any problems with dry eye? Are your eye problems resolved completely? Was it worth the surgery?

  6. hello--thank you for writing this. I am due to have the same surgery as well I think. Would you tell me the sympotoms you were experiencing that led you to try to find out what was what wrong to begin with? Thanks so much!

  7. Thanks for sharing, my 5yr old daughter is having this surgery tomorrow. I kinda wish I hadnt read this tho to be honest lol. But thanks for sharing ur story!

  8. Thanks for sharing! i will have to have the same procedure and I'm scared to death. I was wondering how your scar looks like now, after a year... Thanks again for all the good info. By the way, you are a beautiful woman and look good without makeup.

  9. I am seeing my surgeon today about getting this done. Unlike you and others this is a personal choice. Having said that, after reading this I am sooooo freaked out. I have had all of the possible surgeries for blocked tear ducts(with the exception of this one) throughout my life and none have worked. This is my last option and I am excited but so scared. For me I have known that I have had this condition since I was a baby. It is considered a severe case considering they can't even get sharp needles through my tear ducts from such severe scarring. I have come to realize in time that I must get this surgery for a few reasons. 1- I get lots of eye infections in my right eye because of lack of drainage and using my sleeves as a tissue. 2- Can't wear makeup without it coming off. Eyeshadow is impossible as well. and 3- Lights from cars at night have such a star-burst effect from the tears in my eyes that it becomes dangerous to drive.

    So there you go. That's my situation for anyone who was wondering :P

    Thank You for writing this. I wish I didn't but at the same time I am glad because if I came out of surgery like you did and didn't know then I would be freaking out and think that something was wrong.

  10. I will have a surgery on December 16. However, I decided for the endoscopical procedure because I am scared of having a scar (my skin is dark tan)... I hope everything will be fine :)

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  12. Hi, I have had 4th DCR surgeries where a silicon tube is inserted in your eye-nose. The first tube I had it for 3 months, then the second one I had it for 6 months, then the third one for 7 months and now my last one, (3 tubes) I had them for 6 weeks. I don't know what to do but none of these DCR surgeries have worked clear my tear duct on my left eye. My left eye still has tears, and all the doctors are professionals. I am wondering if I ever will be cured. I will call my last doctor Georgescu at John Hopkins Hospital at Baltimore to have the Jester Jones tube inserted. This tube is made of glass and you can live with it for the rest of your life. Has anyone ever had more than one DCR surgeries than me? Thanks for reading Marlenne.

  13. Hey Marlennelluu--

    I've only had the one DCR... It must be awful for you having to go through so many. I'm going in for a CDCR soon (I hope!) because the tearing has returned. Have you asked your doctor about the CDCR?

  14. Wow, Thanks to everyone for sharing. I just had the DCR surgery done last friday, June 3rd and found that I also had some time of cyst or stone in my duct that contribited to the irritation and excessive tearing. I hope that repeated procedures are no necessary~ Not very happy with the swellon nor the scar for that matter.

  15. My husband had an endoscopic dacryocystorhinostomy a few weeks ago that left microscopic sutures on his upper nose only. They were truly microscopic! He had sore throat & lots of bleeding for 2 days but no visible swelling. I mean that literally, you could not tell he had had an eye procedure done even day after! Worse swelling was in nose & that was only from packing that was removed on day two. He has taken nothing more than Tylenol for the pain. His chief complaints were cost of post-surgery eye drops, not knowing eye would still drain onto face (thought tube was clogged) and that his eye could swell (usually from weather) causing the tube to poke & irritate his eye. He had surgery when he was three as well so it lasted forty years! So for the people who are frightened not every out one is the same! The skill of the doctor is a major factor, how invasive they choose to be and underlying medical problems such as migraines, bad sinus problems, immune disorder, etc. It's been 3 weeks now and pain still occurs but nothing that Sudafed and Tylenol don't ease. I appreciate your blog and your honesty but would like people to hear both the cautious tale and the more positive outcome we experienced so they can way them equally in making their surgical choice! My advice is to have all alternative done first, check your doctor out online and be informed as possible as to the different types of DCR procedures. I absolutely hate it for you that your experience was so horrible! Things don't always go well- my husband's outpatient gallbladder removal ended up being a 7 day hospital stay with lots of complications. (mostly surgeons fault) I've learned a lot about handling the medical arena because I have systemic lupus and the best advice I can give is REALLY checkout your doctor, how many times has he done this, then educate yourself well so your fear will typically be less. It's very hard to heal when body is stressed going into surgery! I look forward to reading the rest of your blog and hoping it finds you well and crying properly! I wish you the best & thank you again for being brave enough to put your story out here!
    P.S. This surgery is known for causing nausea and iv mess should've been given during surgery not after. Add the drainage of blood and mucus along with pain mess on empty stomach and you must have been miserable! Please if you're having this procedure done ask for nausea meds to be given during not after. It's easier to keep it at bay then trying to make it go away! Good luck to all!

  16. Wow! Sorry for spelling! My iPod didn't agree with what I was writing! Apologizes to all who suffered through my long post!

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  18. I read recently that certain drugs mimic the effect of clogged ducts. One was Relistor but it would be prudent to check side-effects of any medicine you're taking. Also worth discussing with doctor post-op if you have watery eyes after tubes are placed if using Afrin would help relieve the excessive watering. (according to hubby's doctor) Overuse is discouraged but used for a short time it can help! Also want to ask why would any doctor do the invasive DCR when the endoscopic one has a faster healing time, obviously less pain with better success rate!?! If you or a loved one is scheduled for a DCR ask if it's endoscopic and if not why then get a second opinion! Can't believe the pain this young lady suffered when an alternative is available. Remember doctors are not gods, they are trusted advisors! If you don't trust them RUN! My gut feeling about doctor has not been wrong yet and when I didn't listen to myself it was paid with a high price! Best health to all!

  19. I had the surgery 10 days ago. The swelling and bruising is almost gone, but the discharge from my duct just won't quit. I have a followup appt on day 14 to have stitches removed. My eye is red and oozing. It's discouraging, but I'll see what he says.

  20. Thanks for sharing this as so little is on the net about DCR! I am from the UK and had both eyes done as external DCR as my nose was too narrow for endoscopic surgery! After 3 weeks I still have a black eyes but scars have nearly healed and my eyes no longer water :).

    You went through so much pain however - and that's awful - I was luckily pain free - it was the surgery that got me - I was so sick after the general :(

    The stents for me are the worst part as I am aware of them when I look left and right :(

    I am so looking forward to not having streams of tears down my face!

    Thanks again for sharing - with love from the UK,


  21. My wife just had the surgery yesterday for the right eye and is feeling great. Surgery went well. No visible scars - went through the nasal passage. Had a pretty good headache at first, has bruising under the eye, very little pain or swelling around the eye, and had a bloody nasal discharge for about 12 hours. Will need the left side done - but the doctor would not do them at the same time. Blockage was due to radioactive Iodine being used during treatment for thyroid cancer. Small percentage of thyroid cancer patients have this as side effect. Just lucky.

  22. Hi Vivian, I had the DCR done too, but the kind through the nose. I'm having problems with the stent coming out and repeat nose and eye infections. How are you doing? Thanks for posting your personal experience, it really does help others! You are certainly a trooper :) Kindly,

  23. Hi Vivian,
    I had a bilateral DCR several years ago. I had the stents removed after 6 months. Within 2 months, both tear ducts were fully blocked again. I was just too overwhelmed to even think about going through the gruesome recovery process again. Are you in Chicago by chance? WOnder if we had the same surgeon? I am more than disappointed to say the least. I am usually half blind at all times. Forget about going anywhere with fluorescent lighting, as that causes so much tearing that I need to hold on to someone in order to walk.

    If possible, please provide the doctor's name. I am looking to have a revision, but don't want to go to the original doc.

  24. I had a crying eye for 3 years with 2 surgeries. First surgery was botched, second was PERFECT with a different surgeon who had a better success rate. Question. 4 months post op and no tears. When the weather changes, I get horrific headaches and lots of pressure behind the eye that dcr was performed. Does anyone else have this problem?

  25. Also, after my first external DCR(botched), I researched the laparoscopic DCR and found that, in my area, the better success rate was with the external DCR doc. I had 2 external DCR'S, with no scarring and my skin is olive. My second surgery was a success because I did my homework, asked questions about success rates and got a 2nd and 3rd opinion.

    My first surgery was a nightmare. My eye was oozing and swollen shut for days, the incision abscessed, I was bleeding from my tear duct, I was dizzy for 8 weeks after the surgery and my eyes looked crossed. It never worked and my infections were worse than before. Everything depends on the ability of your DR.

  26. Thanks for sharing Vivian,
    I am having the surgery this month and the doctor told me it would be a 2 1/2 hours. Don't know if he meant surgery or in and out. Did they remove part of the bone? That is what I am told.

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  29. I appreciated reading your story. I am very sorry to hear you had so much pain. I have heard it is a tougher recovery for migraine sufferers. I am hoping for less pain in recovery since I don't get migraines! :-). I am scheduled for external DCR on 8/15/12' so just a few days away. Really hoping to quit carrying Kleenex with me constantly! I am cautiously optimistic at this point! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  30. Thanks for sharing this.

    I have this infection for the past two years with it reoccurring around the same time.I feel it happening again and I totally understand how you feel about looking at yourself in the mirror, it just eats you up.

    Hopefully I can get a similar procedure like you done too!

  31. Had my surgery one week ago tomorrow,not much pain ,some tenderness not a bad experience at all ,looking forward to see my doctor tomorrow for my postoperative !

  32. Please read my positive story
    My DCR surgery was two weeks ago tomorrow. My complications or tearing were a direct result of my daughter squirting me in the eye with a bath toy, four years ago. Up until the point of surgery, I've dealt with excessive tearing and random eye tissue infections for years. I've scheduled numerous appointments over the years with eye doctors and insisted on seeing an opthalmologist as it's not my vision that's an issue. But to no avail, I'd get a prescription for steroid drops and antibiotics to help "clear it up".
    I was recently referred to a Specialist, Dr. Rose at Davis Duehr Dean in Madison, WI. I wasn't in the chair five minutes and he knew what the problem was. The reservoir that helps drain my tears into my nasal passage was scarred over from the "bath incident" four years prior to. He didn't need to give me eye drops, or run a tube down the duct, he lightly pressed on the hollow area under the corner of my eye and out came clear tears.. surgery was then schedule for a few weeks later. Lay off all drugs 10 days prior to surgery, ie.. tylenol, ibuprofen, acetaminophen etc. But I could continue use of my allergy med: loratidine. He also strongly suggested taking a natural product orally called "Arnika", which you can find at Walgreens. It's a natural anti inflammatory and would greatly help with swelling. I began taking it 10 days prior to surgery and am still taking it now.
    Day of surgery, was easy. They checked me in shortly and ran an IV right away. Dr. Rose came in to check on me and make sure all was well and that I wasn't nervous. (This was the first surgery I've ever had and the only other comparison I have to this is child birth) Then the anesthesiologist came in and talked to me about the fun drugs I was going to be on so that I wouldn't feel anything... and he would numb the orbital area with 6 separate injections.The main block being where the new hole was drilled through the bone would be a long lasting block.. he wasn't joking!(2 days!):o)
    Then came my "sleeping shot" and the next thing I knew, I was waking up from surgery. No nausea, no spinning room, just was extremely tired and ready for sleep. I drank a small glass of grape juice and hit the road with my mother. Dr. Rose said I "shouldn't take my patch off until later that night" I left it on until the following day. I was a little worried that I might accidently rub my eye in the middle of the night and left it on for extra protection. I too slept with several pillows under my head, and with the exception of the pretty bruising from surgery, it wasn't too bad. I've visited friends in the hospital who were much worse for wear. Being a little funny looking for a few days is a price I'm more than willing to pay after having to constantly wipe tears off my cheek and deal with the rawness that comes from the salt in your tears. I always kept chapstick in my pocket to put under my eye to moisturize and protect my skin.
    Now being out almost 14 days after surgery, I'm more than pleased to report that I've not wiped a single tear from my cheek and the swelling is pretty much gone. In the morning, I'm still a little puffy but once I get going for the day, it subsides. My incision was approximately an inch long and is almost completely healed over. They used surgical glue in a thick layer on my skin to protect the incision. That sort of peels off in the shower within 3 or 4 days post surgery.
    I had my recheck appointment 3 days ago and the nurse says everything looks wonderful. That I will still have some tenderness for a couple more weeks, where they cut through the bone. Bone takes more time to heal than tissue. All in all, I'm beyond happy with my results and the entire experience. Thank goodness I didn't read this before surgery! :) Everyone's experience is different and I completely agree with another comment on here, do your research about the doctor!

    1. Thanks for your positive story of dcr. Can I ask, can you see or feel where the bone has been removed? I need to have both sides done an worried it will affect my nose shape. Thanks again :)

  33. I am facing bilateral endoscopic dcr and very nervous! If anyone could share updates or news it would be most appreciated.

    1. Hi Emily, how did your surgery go? I hope it's successful. I just had the right eye done endoscopically. Surgeon said the blockage was in my tear sac not the tear duct. He put a stent through my puncta. I'm hoping it would be successful, I'm only 6 days post op and doing pretty well.

    2. @ Emily and @ Armie- how were your experiences?

    3. Hi N.S. My experience went well. I had mine done endoscopically by an ENT. Almost 2 yrs now, I'm still doing well. No tearing. Sometimes when I get congested some tearing occurs but a little massage helps it and then it goes away once my congestion clears up. I was blessed to have a great surgeon. I hope you find somebody out in Toronto that does the procedure well. It's so worth it. Good luck!

  34. Had endoscopic (through inside of nose) DCR two days ago on my right eye so no external incision. It was done with twilight anesthesia not general anesthesia. Initial nausea was helped 100 percent by not swallowing the draining blood. My pain level was never more than a 3 to 4 and two plain extra strength Tylenol followed one every 6 hours took away pain. Lots and lots of ice compresses helped too. There is some tight small pinching pain at the corner of my eye near my nose when I only if I open my eye too wide or look too far left. Or right. ..the silicon tubing along with swelling probably is the cause and should be temporary.
    Hope everyone's experience is as relatively easy as mine has been.

    1. 7 days post surgery..hardly had any bruising left. Doctor loosened the silicone tubing so eye no longer irritated when looking far to right or far to left.

      17 days post surgery today. Doctor removed stent. Slight bleeding in nose upon removal. Nasal stuffiness in now gone. No tearing. If I touch the outside of my nose it's still achy where my glasses sit on my nose. That's (normal since they cut into bone inside of nose to do the procedure) and improving ....everything else is good. If you have a choice endoscopic is the way to go. No stitches ,no scar. It also seems less painful overall when compared to experiences of others reporting here who had external DCR.
      Main advice to reduce bruising ice ice as many times a day as possible for first few days after surgery . Also sleeping with head elevated kept swelling down too. Agree ..research ocular plastic surgeon who has years of doing the procedure many times and with a good success rate..mine had 93 percent success rate. Also I'm told by my doctor that the major cause for DCR failure is infection so be sure your doctor is one who prescribes antibiotic eye drops after surgery.

    2. Hi Ruth,

      I'm in Toronto and unfortunately my mothers specialist is saying that external DCR is the only way to go. Please please please tell me the name of your surgeon and what hospital ! I would be willing to fly out with my mother to have this procedure done. Your story gives me hope after reading failure upon failure on the internet.

  35. Hi NS,
    I messaged you the information you asked for. Again it would be important before proceeding to find out the medical reason that your mom's doctor has given when saying
    "external DCR is the only way to go." Good luck to you and your mom and feel free to message me again if you have other questions.

  36. I had the DCR on December 15, 2015 in my right eye, endoscopically with internal stitches due to an unknown blockage. I had some pretty severe bruising but I bruise easily anyway but the pain was minimal and controlled with just Tylonel. I had the tube in for 3 months and even tho my eye doesn't tear anymore, when I blow my nose, I feel a puff of air in my eye or sometimes I get nose "junk" that comes out. Has anyone else have this?

    1. Sherry Ann - I had a stent placed in my right eye from Jan - Sept of this year. Once the stent came out, I can feel a puff of air in my eye every time I blow my nose. Unfortunately my eye started tearing again 3 weeks ago. I'm seeing my eye doctor this Fri so he can probe/irrigate the tear duct to clean it out. I've probably had this probing done 15 times. I was really hoping the stent would open the tear duct and keep it open once it was removed. I was good for about 2 months. I'm probably going to have to look into having the DCR surgery next. Sharon Kay

  37. Had surgery last Tuesday ,left eye they did from inside my nose no incision. Thursday tube worked it way loose. Dr. Got it back in. On Friday back to Dr. And he removed the tube completely. So I guess It wasn't successful. I also had right eye done same day with the incision on the side of my nose. Tomorrow only One week since my surgery I have to go back to Dr. Because the tube is loose and laying across my eye, causing my eye to be Sore. I wish I would of never had this surgery. My Dr was recommended by another eye specialist. I have so many questions to ask the Dr. Tomorrow. I wish I would of went with my gut feelings when I wanted to wait to have surgery. I always wondered why no Dr. Said anything about have tests done prior to surgery to see if it was necessary? I only had infected tear duct twice, Dr. Told me it was necessary to have operation. Later I learned there were other options.

  38. Deviated septum. Need this surgery to feel like my old self again. How does one find out the doctors success rate and verify it / research the surgeon?

  39. What were the eye drops the Dr. gave you before surgery. The ones that took the pain away but can cause cataracts

  40. Thank you so much for creating this blog about your DRC experience. I'm from England and couldn't find any viable information from a Patients perspective. So this was SUPER helpful and very valuable. Thanks once again ��

  41. I just had both eyes done five days ago. I feel great! No more tearing. No pain at all. Very little black n blue and the stitches aren’t so bad.