I know you can fix this

Here is a challenge for our nation’s richly financed pharmaceutical industry: Do something about those dilating eye drops. They last too long.

If you guessed that I have had my eyes dilated today, you’d be right. I have been home about an hour from my appointment today with my ophthalmologist. It all went well, but of course, to complete her examination, she had to put those dreaded drops in my eyes to dilate them. I understand the necessity of this. What I don’t get is why the effects of these drops last so long.

The doctor needs the patient’s eyes to be dilated for the duration of the examination, a few minutes, maybe up to 15 or 20 minutes, to be generous. But why does the patient then have to live with compromised vision for most of the remainder of the day? In my case, this misery lasts for four to five hours at least.

I’m not a chemist, but it seems to me that those who are in the business of producing these drops surely have the expertise to come up with a formula for eye-dilating drops that both serve the doctor’s short-term need yet also restore the patient’s vision more quickly, say in a half hour or so.

Make no mistake, pharmaceuticals are a huge business. Imagine the sweet silence if we were to remove their endless, expensive commercials from our television screens. This industry has plenty of money, surely enough of it to fix this frustrating and potentially unsafe problem. These folks have the knowhow to solve this. Do they have the motivation?