What is lacrimal surgery?
Lacrimal surgery is performed to treat disorders affecting the eyelids and tear drainage systems. Some common procedures include:
- Correction of eyelid malpositions
- The treatment of ingrown eyelashes
- Tumour removal on the eyelids and surrounding tissue
- Treatment of excessive eye watering
- Treatment of a blocked tear duct
Lacrimal surgery is most commonly recommended to treat a blocked tear sac, which can be extremely uncomfortable and result in serious infection. A blocked tear duct can also cause excessive watering and obscure one’s vision.
How does the procedure work?
Lacrimal duct obstruction is quite common in young children, and while antibiotics and massage can help to open the duct, in some cases, surgery is required in order to properly treat the condition. Surgical probing of the tear duct is performed under general anaesthesia and is an effective method of opening up blocked ducts in babies. If the condition persists after probing, your surgeon may recommend additional procedures.
Surgical probing can also be performed on adults with blocked tear ducts. Before the procedure, your doctor will perform a diagnostic irrigation of the tear duct in order to properly see the location and extent of the blockage. If the tearing is severe, your surgeon may recommend a dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) during which an opening will be made in the bone between the blocked tear duct and the nose. The lining of the tear duct will then be attached to the lining of the nose. This creates a drainage canal for the tears and prevents further tearing. In some cases, a plastic tube may be temporarily placed to further assist drainage.
After eye duct surgery, you may see a small scar on the nose, although this typically heals quite quickly. Your surgeon may ask you to schedule a follow-up appointment to remove any stitches about a week after the surgery. It can take some time to heal properly, so it is a good idea to refrain from normal physical activity until you have completely recovered. Your doctor will prescribe any necessary pain medication should you require it.