Introduction: Many patients in Nepal travel vast distances to have their surgeries in Kathmandu. They often remain close by until their follow-up visit for their silicone tube removal, which contributes to a large financial burden on them and their families. Hence, reducing the time for which silicone tubes remain in situ following external dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) provides significant benefits to patients. Furthermore, this is the first comparative study which has successfully demonstrated the earliest timeframe for which silicone tubes can be removed following DCR in the medical literature.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial consisting of 144 patients was designed to compare patient outcomes after early (2 weeks postoperatively) versus standard (6 weeks postoperatively) removal of silicone stents. The success of their procedures was determined when patients were assessed both symptomatically and anatomically at their 6-month follow-up.

Results: The surgical success in both groups was high at 97.8% collectively in both groups and there were only a small number of patients who were lost to follow-up (5 patients) at 6 months. There was no statistical difference at removing silicone stents at 2 or 6 weeks postoperatively.

Conclusion: These results were consistent with our pilot study, which showed no statistical difference in long-term success following silicone tube removal at 2 and 6 weeks.