A New Treatment for Dry Eyes
Impacting around 38 million people in the US, dry eye disease is a chronic condition that occurs when a person has an imbalance of tear production and drainage. It can cause stinging, sensitivity to light, eye fatigue, and many other irritable symptoms.
TYRVAYA is a new FDA-approved nasal spray that improves signs and symptoms of dry eye disease. Created by Oyster Point Pharma, it is currently the first and only nasal spray to be approved for this disease. This method of treatment provides a new way to treat dry eyes without directly administering medication into irritated eyes, and is also beneficial towards patients who have difficulty applying topical eye drops independently. When applied, the drug activates a nerve in the skull, resulting in increased production of natural tears to lubricate and nourish the eye.
Varenicline, the medication found in the nasal spray, was predominantly used for smoking cessation and was only recently used optically. It can be prescribed to anyone diagnosed with dry eye disease that does not get relief from artificial tears, as well as those who need to use artificial tears around 3-4 times a day.
The spray was tested in clinical trials in over 1000 adults with varying severities of dry eye disease, and the basal tear production was measured based on a test that used calibrated filter paper to measure tear volume. Of the patients treated with TYRVAYA, around 50% showed improvements in tear film production, whereas only around 20% experienced improvements using traditional methods. It also takes effect in as little as 14 days, compared to the other drugs for dry eyes which can take 3-6 months to generate effects. The cons of this spray are the side effects, most notably sneezing, but some other effects include coughing and irritation in the throat/nose.
TYRVAYA will be available with a prescription in November 2021 and will cost $10 or less for uninsured patients. This new tool proves exciting for ophthalmologists, as they are now able to combine this treatment along with others to treat individuals suffering from dry eye.