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    Confessions of an innovator

    How ophthalmic breakthroughs evolved from the bizarre to medical, surgical realities


    Advent of timolol

    A consultancy for Merck resulted in the birth of what would become a mainstay treatment for glaucoma. Up to that point, only pilocarpine and oral Diamox with their severe side effects had been available.

    Yale researcher Marvin Sears, MD, observed that timolol had an IOP-lowering effect in rabbit eyes when used to dissolve zonules. There was reluctance among industry to investigate this drug further in trials because of the absence of a large market. Dr. Kaufman persuaded a former assistant resident and then head of Merck to conduct an investigation.

    “This turned out to be the first good drug to treat glaucoma and a blockbuster product for Merck,” he said.

    Lynda Charters
    Lynda Charters is a freelance medical writer.

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