Pilocarpine prodrug, O,O'-dipivaloyl(1,2-ethylene) bispilocarpic acid diester, was introduced to a submicron emulsion vehicle in a dose equivalent to 0.5% pilocarpine base, and the formulation was studied in albino rabbits using miotic assay. Compared with pilocarpine HCl 0.5% solution delayed and prolonged miosis was observed after application of the prodrug emulsion. AUC(0-6 h) values for the prodrug emulsion and pilocarpine solution were 9252+/-1345 and 6845+/-1967%xmin, respectively. The prodrug was also administered twice daily for 5 days in the form of aqueous solution or submicron emulsion in order to study ocular irritation. Irritation potential of the prodrug was significantly reduced when submicron emulsion was used as a vehicle.