You’ve probably read that headline at least twice, haven’t you? At first glance, it makes absolutely no sense at all. How in the world can your nose help you fight your battle against dry eye disease? A few years ago, your optometrist might have agreed with you, but in October of 2021 the FDA approved a revolutionary new treatment for dry eyes – Tyrvaya.
Tyrvaya is a prescription medication for dry eye disease that is delivered to your eyes in a completely unique way – via nasal spray. This convenient, safe and effective treatment is changing the way many people suffering from dry eye disease are addressing this chronic issue. Normal eyes produce an adequate amount of tears, and their tears have enough of the essential oil produced by the Meibomian glands to keep the surface of the eye moist. The tear film that coats your eye every time you blink is made of three main components, mucin, lipids, and aqueous fluid. The aqueous fluid is a complex, finely balanced liquid that contains nourishing elements that moisten your eyes and flush out foreign particles. The mucin distributes the tears evenly over your eyes and helps bind them to the surface of the eyes. The lipids, produced by the Meibomian glands, prevent premature evaporation of the tear film, allowing your eyes to retain their essential moisture.
All of these glands and cells that help produce tears are connected to a specific nerve in your nose that is an essential part of the relay system that controls your body’s tear production. When the active ingredient in Tyrvaya, varenicline, comes in contact with this nerve, it helps activate or regulate the level of tear production. Tyrvaya was studied in two separate clinical trials, each lasting 28 days. 940 people with dry eye disease took part, with most reporting improvement of their dry eye symptoms after the first dose. Increased tear production was noted in most cases within 4 weeks of beginning treatment.
Mild side effects were noted by some patients, with the most common being sneezing, coughing, and nasal or throat irritation. Most of the side effects disappeared after the first few days to a couple of weeks. It’s recommended that two doses per day be taken, each about 12 hours apart. There are no known drug interactions for Tyrvaya at this point, but it’s still very important to tell your eye doctor which medications, vitamins, herbs, and nutritional supplements you’re taking before you choose to begin treatment. It’s also a great idea to have a full vision exam as well, so your optometrist can identify any other issues that may affect treatment, such as nasal congestion due to seasonal allergies, rhinitis, or sinusitis. Tyrvaya is currently only approved by the FDA for adult use.
Some vision plans and health insurance policies may cover Tyrvaya, and it is available at a discounted rate through pharmaceutical savings plans such as GoodRX. There isn’t a generic version of this medication available, so Oyster Point Pharma, the manufacturer of Tyrvaya, has also set up an assistance program called TeamTyrvaya to help eligible patients cover the cost of their medication.
Using Tyrvaya is just as easy as using a nasal spray when you have allergies or a cold, but there are some small differences. There’s a great video available to give new users a tutorial with clear directions on how to administer their treatment.
Some contact lens wearers report that they can keep their lenses in while administering Tyrvaya, so be sure to talk to your optometrist about whether or not this option would be appropriate during your evaluation. It’s a great idea to have a vision test while you’re being evaluated for this innovative new solution for dry eye disease, not only to determine if you can continue to wear your lenses while you use your new nasal spray, but also because you may want to score a new pair of glasses with chic designer frames for backup if she recommends otherwise.
If you’d like to explore the possibilities of Tyrvaya, don’t hesitate to set up a consultation with one of the Houston eye doctors at Pro-Optix Eye Care by calling 713-360-7095 today!