Saturday, January 19, 2013

Four Years and Two Surgeries Later

I had the procedure in 2011, and the doctor told me, "It was actually just a build up of mucus." Gross, right? It made sense, though, since I'm pretty sure my multiple sinus infections caused the tear duct to get blocked in the first place.

The procedure was easy, and thankfully painless. I think he just stuck a tube down my tear duct and cleared out the blockage. The bad news: the tearing didn't stop. I thought the stent was preventing the tears from getting through the tear duct, but I was wrong. When I had the stent taken out, the tearing didn't get better. I carried a folded tissue with me at all times to stick in the corner of my eye. I avoided dealing with people face-to-face because I didn't want them to see me with tears welling up in my eye. My eye once again grew raw from rubbing the tears away.

And then in January 2012 a miracle happened:

I got the flu.

I was overdosing on Dayquill to stay functional at work, and one day while I was in the bathroom, I blew my nose and this green gunk came out of my eye. (I'm sorry this is so gross!) I was horrified and curious, and pinched my nose shut with my fingers and blew air into my sinuses.

More nasty gunk came out of my tear duct.

So I did it again.

And again.

And again.

Until the gunk stopped. And slowly, over a couple of days, the tearing did, too.

For all of 2012, I was amazingly tear free. And I'm not kidding when I say I was grateful every day for it. I kept a bottle of Dayquill at home and at work, because I'd get the occasional tearing, but a shot of Dayquill and blowing out my eye (I'm sorry it's nasty!) cured the first signs of tearing.

In December 2012, I decided to get bangs. A few weeks later, the tearing started again. And I thought back to the last time I started tearing, and realized that I'd gotten bangs then, too. And the time before that.

Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

I tried my Dayquill trick, but to my horror, the tearing just seemed to get worse. I tried more Dayquill. Still worse. I downed Dayquill until I nearly passed out. Blew my eye.

Nothing. More tearing. Excessive tearing.

As I type this, my eye is more damp than teary, but it's been getting steadily worse. It could be a sinus infection (my sinuses do feel pretty full) or it could be the tear duct being blocked again.

Tomorrow I'm going to go buy some Mucinex and see if that helps, and on Monday, I'm calling the doctor. Hopefully it doesn't come to that.

Until next time.


  1. Damn, I'm sorry to hear that.
    The past three years for me it has happened around the same time. The first two years was beginning of December, and this year it happened right after new years. It swells up and then forms an abscess which leaks out, reducing the swelling.

    As of now, I felt the first signs of it on Jan 2nd, and is pretty much gone; no tearing or swelling, but it looks like I have a black eye.

    Did an abscess form whenever it happened to you? Keep doing the warm compresses and I hope it passes for you

  2. Hello Vivian, I am so thankful you blogged about your experience. My name is Meghan, from CO and I've been suffering w/ punctal stenosis for about a year now. I've had three procedures: Dilation and irrigation, getting a stent placed (HORRIBLE), punctal snipping and just yesterday I had balloon dilation completed without success which now means I need DCR. Did you experience multiple infections after your surgery? How did you get your scar to go away? How long were you down and out? Did it resolve right after your surgery? If you have any tips or recommendations, please let me know, I'm completely freaking out about this...Many many thanks, -Meghan PS. Feel free to email me at

  3. Hello Vivian, thank you for blogging about your experience. I have had watery eyes most of my life but the last couple of years have been unbearable. I've had 2 surgeries since October 2012. Surgeon snipped some skin away (tiny incisions) inside inner corner of both eyes for tears to flow through and miraculously all tearing completely stopped for 2 months. Then in December tearing started again and in March surgeon put stints in both eyes. Eyes continued to water (I thought stints were irritating eyes) and I was hopeful that after stints were removed (3 months later) eyes would stop watering. It's been a month since stints were removed and my eyes are still watering. Any suggestions. My left eye waters more than my right eye. I've stopped using makeup all together which is very depressing because I have beautiful eyes! Well, not so beautiful anymore. People always think I'm crying. Surgeon said that looking for tear duct in my left eye was like looking for a needle in a haystack. I'm going back to see him and he'll probably refer me to an ENT.

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  5. So sorry to hear, that things are getting worse. Overdosing of Dayquill can be very risky and can give sinus infection. Our dentist offering INTENSIVE DCCR for 6 days to improve the skills of the students in Toronto.

  6. Hi Megan,
    I've been having the same testing problem and tried the same procedures... irrigation and a 3 snip punctal snipping in both tear ducts. Immediately after the surgery the hearing was gone. About two weeks later it came back in one eye and slowly back to the other. Now post surgery 5 weeks still tearing.

    I wanted to find out if you are still having trouble or if you found how to fix the problem now that it's several years later after your post?

    Thank you!

  7. Just found this blog and very curious to know if anyone has found a solution to their tearing? I'm having the same issues with tearing and have had the irrigation and 3 snip surgery and worked for a couple weeks but the tearing is back.

    Thanks for any feedback!

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