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Watering eye surgery

Discover more about the surgery available to treat watering eyes.


Dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR), also known as watering eye surgery, is a surgical procedure that makes a new passage for your tears to pass from your eye to your nose.

It aims to stop fluid and mucus blockage within the lacrimal sac (your tear sac) and increase tear drainage for the relief of epiphora (watering eyes).

This procedure is also known as lachrymal surgery, or a tear duct bypass surgery. There are two ways of performing watering eye surgery:

  • External dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) – performed through a small incision on the side of the nose.
  • Endoscopic dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) – performed from inside the nostril, so no scars are visible.

Most external DCR operations are carried out under local anaesthetic and as a day procedure.

During an external DCR, your Consultant will make a small cut on the side of your nose to access the tear sac. A piece of bone between the tear sac and your nose will be removed to reach the inside of your nose.

The tear sac is opened and stitched to the lining of the nose. This forms a direct passage between the sac and your nose.

A soft silicone tube or thread may be put into the tear passage to keep it open during healing.

External DCR takes around one hour to 90 minutes.

Most endoscopic DCRs are performed with general anaesthetic.

In this operation, your Consultant will access the inside of your nose by using a small telescopic instrument called an endoscope. This will allow your Consultant to see inside your nostril and make a small opening between the tear sac and the lining of your nose, without using stitches.

The opening is smaller than with an external DCR and the operation is usually quicker. There is no cut in the skin for an endoscopic DCR operation.

Your Consultant will place silicone tubing into the tube passage to keep this open.

If you have local anaesthetic, you should be able to leave hospital a few hours after the procedure.

If you have general anaesthetic, you will usually stay for one night to recover before returning to your regular activities.

After both types of DCR procedures, you will receive eye drops to use for a few days and detailed aftercare instructions explaining how to make the most of your recovery.

You will need to return to the clinic several times after the operation so your Consultant can carefully monitor and manage your recovery.

Puncto-canaliculoplasty surgery is another form surgery performed to treat watering eyes. It typically treats less severe cases of watering eyes, caused by a condition called punctal stenosis. 

The procedure is a minor surgery to enlarge your punctum (the opening of your tear duct drainage system).

If your punctum narrows or becomes blocked, your eyes will likely flow with tears. Your punctum usually narrows due to inflammation of your upper or lower eyelids.

Punctoplasty is a relatively short procedure and is typically performed using local anaesthesia. It has high success rates for people suffering the effects of a narrowed punctum or punctums.

Speak with your Consultant to determine whether this surgery is the best form of treatment for you.

This is a potential treatment option if you have chronic dry eye, which can cause itchiness and irritation of the eyes. Dry eye can even cause blurred vision.

Punctul plugs are small biocompatible devices that can be inserted into your tear ducts to block drainage and relieve certain forms of dry eye. The procedure is non-invasive and can be performed under local anaesthetic.

Temporary punctal plugs can be inserted to determine whether the treatment works for you. If it does, you can opt for permanent punctal plugs, which can last for years. 

Temporary punctal plugs usually dissolve over a period of three months. Permanenet punctal plugs do not dissolve, but they can be removed quickly if needed. 

Speak with your Consultant to determine whether punctal plugs are the best possible treatment option for you.

We offer all of the treatment options mentioned above. You can arrange a private eyecare appointment with a leading Ophthalmologist to discuss these – quickly and without hassle.

They will assess your condition and advise which treatment option would work for you.

To arrange your appointment, call us directly on 0141 300 5009 or book an appointment online.

Specialists offering Watering eye surgery

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Mr Paul Cannon

Consultant Oculoplastic and Ophthalmic Surgeon


The Highfield Hospital

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Mr Bertie Fernando

Oculoplastic and Ophthalmic Surgeon


The Highfield Hospital 1 more The Beardwood Hospital

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Mr Shabbir Mohamed

Consultant Ophthalmologist

MBChB(Hons), FRCSEd, FRCOphth

The Priory Hospital

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Mr Vikesh Patel

Consultant Ophthalmologist and Oculoplastic Surgeon

MBChB, FRCOphth, FRCSEd (Ophth)

The Lancaster Hospital

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Mr Srinivasan Subramaniam

Consultant Ophthalmologist

Dip Ophth, MS (Ophth), FRCS, Cert. LRS, FRCOphth

The Park Hospital

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Professor Harpreet Singh Ahluwalia

Consultant Ophthalmologist


The Meriden Hospital

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