What causes the watering and discharge?
The eyes water because the flow of tears is blocked somewhere in the tear ducts. If you have discharge, it is a sign that the blockage is caused by infection.
How can it be treated?
The only way to treat it is by surgically opening the tear duct.
Is DCR surgery necessary?
Yes. Surgery is essential and must be done sooner or later. However, if any other eye surgery is planned (like retina or cataract surgery), then the tear duct DCR surgery must be done as soon as possible.
What happens if we don’t treat it?
If left untreated, watering and discharge will persist. This increases the risk of infections. It also raises the chance of repeated episodes of pain and swelling near the eye.
Which is better – external or laser DCR?
In general, there are advantages and disadvantages to each. External DCR takes longer, is less comfortable and may leave a small scar. However, it yields better results and rarely requires a second surgery.
Does the tube placed during DCR cause any side effects?
The tube is made from a safe material. It does not cause irritation or any other side effects.
When should the stitches and tube be removed?
Some stitches do not need to be removed. Others will be removed within 7-10 days. The tube is left in place for a few months, as advised by the doctor. If all goes well, it is normally removed after 3 months.
Will there be a scar?
Yes. External DCR does create a small scar on the side of the nose. However, this usually fades with time. It is not very noticeable after the wound has healed.
Is probing a surgery or a procedure?
Probing is not a surgery. It is a small procedure where the doctor passes a thin rod through the tear duct to try to open it up. It only takes a few minutes and the child can go home the same day. The child will be under general anesthesia during the procedure.
Is there any risk to the child during general anesthesia?
Although there is always some risk, probing is a short procedure so the child will only be unconscious for a few minutes. The anesthetist will also be with the child during the entire procedure. The child will be well looked after, so there is no cause for concern.
Probing was already done once. Why is it being repeated?
Probing is only an attempt to open up a tear duct that was blocked at birth. There is no guarantee that it will work on the first try. If the block is a soft tissue, it is easy to remove and open the tear duct. In some cases, the tear duct may be blocked by a harder tissue, like bone. This makes it harder to open the duct with probing. For some hard tissues, a second probing attempt may open the block. But for bone, DCR surgery with intubation is needed.