Let's Talk About Tyrvaya
Last updated: February 2023
A few months ago I sought out a second opinion on my chronic dry eye situation. One of the things we discovered is I have reduced tear production in my right eye. This is most likely due to a small cyst in my upper eyelid I had removed several years ago. Shortly after it was removed, I discovered I could no longer cry out of that eye. Onions, sappy movies—nothing made a difference. It was upsetting at first, but my eye felt okay otherwise so I moved on with my life.
It wasn’t until I started getting tests done by dry eye specialists that I realized I might have a more serious problem on my hands. Testing showed my right eye was barely producing any tears at all. The second doctor I consulted suspected I could have a damaged lacrimal gland. But what do you do when your eyes aren’t producing enough tears?
Nasal spray for dry eye
He suggested a few different options—autologous serum tears or scleral lenses to help the cornea heal—and also handed me a sample of a new nasal spray called Tyrvaya. A nasal spray for dry eye? I’d heard of it but didn’t really know much about it. The doctor said he’d been surprised at how well it seemed to be working for some patients with tear production issues so it seemed like it was worth a try.
The other thing he said was “don’t aim it straight up your nose or it’ll burn like pepper spray.” This is important because Tyraya is not an allergy spray, so it doesn’t need to get into your sinuses. The way it’s supposed to work is by activating the trigeminal nerve that connects from the nose to the lacrimal glands, stimulating them to produce more basal tears, which are what keep the cornea lubricated and healthy.1
When I got home, I immediately tried the spray, careful to aim it toward the side of my nostril. It didn’t burn as much as I’d feared but it did make me sneeze shortly after. The discomfort was short-lived and frankly, much less than some of the prescription eye drops I’ve used over the years.
By the next day I was already noticing a difference. My vision improved a little in my right eye and I could make out details better, like road signs and text on the TV. I also noticed I could feel a tiny bit of moisture again at the corners of my eye. Maybe I had just gotten used to the dryness all these years.
The most pleasant surprise came a few months later when my dry eye specialist performed another test of my tear production. Although my right eye is still producing less tears than my left, it’s closer to the normal range. It seems like Tyrvaya is making a difference, and it’s a difference I can feel.
It’s worth noting that we don’t really have a lot of options to address dry eye problems caused by lack of tear production. Tyrvaya is a first-of-its-kind treatment.2 Because of that, I did have to wait for 2 months for my insurance to approve it, but through PhilRx, I was able to get medication delivered to my door for just $10.
After several months of use, I have not had any major side effects from Tyrvaya. The burning sensation has lessened and I almost never sneeze as long as I aim the spray to the side. So far it seems to be helping improve my chronic dry eye and I hope the effect continues.
Finding out my lacrimal gland may be damaged has been a hard pill to swallow, but I am so thankful I sought out a second opinion.
Has having dry eye helped you better advocate for yourself?