No More Reading Glasses? FDA Approves Eye Drops to Treat Presbyopia


The FDA has approved eye drops to treat presbyopia, a condition of natural decline in our eyes’ ability to focus as we get older that begins around age 40, however, the product may not work as well for those over 55.

New eye drops may help you ditch the reading glasses

When we reach the age of 40 or older, most of us begin to develop a condition known as presbyopia, which affects the ability for the eye to focus on near objects. People often find they have to hold things farther away to see them clearly. Eventually, there comes a time when even this doesn’t help, which has led to the now common saying of: “My arms aren’t long enough.”

Most of us solve this problem by using over-the-counter reading glasses.

But now, a new FDA-approved prescription eye drop called Vuity, from the pharmaceutical company Allergan, may help remedy presbyopia, Science Alert reports.

How do these new eye drops treat presbyopia?

What occurs in the development of presbyopia is that the lens of the eye gets harder and less elastic as we age. Because of this, the muscles of the eye lose strength over time. Thus, it increases difficulty in focusing on close objects, and the smaller they are, the more difficult.

The eye drop Vuity works due to one of its active ingredients, 1.25 percent solution of pilocarpine, a miotic drug that shrinks the pupil of the eye.

By shrinking the pupil, it improves the eye’s ability to focus, particularly in the near vision range, while leaving distance vision unaffected.

How long does the drug last?

You need to be examined by an eye doctor to determine if treatment with the Vuity eye drops will be right for you. If so, the medication will be prescribed.

After applying the drops, they should take effect within 15 minutes and remain effective for up to six hours.

What are the side effects and risks?

Because shrinking the pupils has an effect on low-light vision, the drops should not be used if driving at night or doing anything potentially dangerous in poor lighting.

Pilocarpine has been around for a while, is well known, and is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines.

In clinical trials, no serious side effects have been reported, although 14.9% of people reported mild headaches, while up to 5% reported a number of side effects including eye redness, blurred vision, eye pain, visual impairment, eye irritation and an increased production of tears, the New York Times reported.

The adverse side effects are very rare, but include a risk of retinal detachment, therefore, should not be used if the iris is inflamed.