Approximately 15% of the population in the United States suffers from dry eye disease. Dry eye is a general term for an insufficient tear film. Symptoms of dry eye include but are not limited to stinging, burning, redness, watering, foreign body sensation, light sensitivity, tired eyes and filmy vision.
Our tear film is composed of three basic layers. The outermost layer is the oily layer which is secreted by specialized glands in our eyelid called the Meibomian Glands. The middle layer is the watery layer which is the thickest layer and is secreted by the lacrimal gland. The innermost layer contains mucous which is secret by cells inside of our eyelids and this layer helps to trap tears onto the cornea.
The first step to treatment is to speak with your eye care provider first to discuss how your eyes are feeling. There are many treatment options available to treat dry eye which include increase in humidity, heated eye masks, moisture chambers, steroid eye drops and artificial tear eye drops which include prescription and over the counter regimens.
Tyrvaya (varenicline solution) is a new prescription medication, approved by the FDA, that offers dry eye relief in the form of a nasal spray. Tyrvaya works by stimulating the production of your own natural tear film. There are glands and cells that are located inside of your nose that one spray of Tyrvaya can activate to promote tear production. This is a different method of dry eye treatment compared to artificial tear drops as it is using your natural tear production to improve the tear film. The nasal spray is approved for twice daily dosing. The spray is safe to be used with contact lenses in and avoids applying medication to already irritated eyes. Some side effects include sneezing, coughing, throat and nose irritation.
This new modality of dry eye relief is offering patients a new approach to dry eye treatment. The first step is to speak with your eye care professional to see what options may be best for you. Tyrvaya can be an excellent modality to start with or even add to your dry eye regimen. If you would like to speak with us about your dry eyes, please call 860-233-2020 to set up an appointment today.