Purpose: To report on coexistent sinus symptoms in a population of patients who underwent endonasal dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) surgery for nasolacrimal duct obstruction (NLDO) in a pilot study designed to test and refine methods and to estimate patient sample size for a larger multicentre randomised trial.

Methods: Ninety-four consecutive patients with NLDO who underwent endonasal DCR by three surgeons in both public and private practice over a two-year period were included in this study. Questionnaires were given preceding DCR surgery and at 10 weeks post-surgery. Sinus symptoms including sinusitis, nasal congestion, hyposmia, nasal discharge, and facial pressure were assessed in the questionnaire. All subjects underwent primary endonasal DCR and all patients underwent the same post-operative regimen.

Results: Questionnaire responses revealed that 48/94 (51%) patients had one or more sinus symptoms prior to DCR surgery. Ten-week post-DCR follow-up questionnaires were obtained from 77/94 (82%) patients. About 20/31 (65%) patients with one or more sinus symptoms prior to DCR surgery reported resolution of coexisting sinus symptoms by 10 weeks post-DCR surgery.

Conclusion: The data from this pilot study suggest that approximately half of patients attending for NLDO have coexisting sinus symptoms. There was some loss to follow-up. This pilot study highlighted the need for a validated patient questionnaire, longer length of follow-up, control groups for surgical intervention, and use of perioperative medications. Any clinical trial designed to assess the impact of endonasal surgery on sinus symptoms would need to enrol several hundred patients in order to reach a statistically valid conclusion.