“In this world,” quipped Benjamin Franklin, “nothing is certain except death and taxes.” Today he’d probably include presbyopia, the condition that prevents us from seeing things clearly up close. About 128 million Americans – roughly two out of five – have it at any time. And pretty much everybody gets it by age 45. If you’re in that group and want to avoid glasses, contact lenses or surgery, Vuity eye drops might be able to help.
What Are Vuity Eye Drops?
Vuity (pronounced VIEW-it-ee) comes from Allergan and earned FDA approval in October 2021. It’s the first and only prescription eye drop to treat age-related blurry near vision (presbyopia) in adults.
Its main ingredient, pilocarpine, has been used for a century to treat glaucoma. Pilocarpine has generally been replaced over time by other glaucoma medications such as prostaglandin analogues, partly because the older form of pilocarpine wasn’t always well-tolerated. However, Vuity uses proprietary technologies to minimize symptoms of burning or stinging, as well as making the drug more effective.
Why Do We Get Presbyopia?
In youth, the lens of the eye remains soft and flexible and changes shape easily. It focuses on objects over the entire range of vision, like a high-quality camera zooming in and out to take photographs. The lens becomes less flexible with age. As the lens becomes more rigid, it is unable to bend light properly to focus it on the retina. Patients may try to compensate by holding objects at arm’s length, squinting, requiring bright lights in order to read. The lens becomes more rigid and can’t change shape so easily. By 65, it loses almost all flexibility. To see close up, we have to hold objects at arm’s length, squint constantly, read under extremely bright lights, etc.
Pilocarpine constricts the pupil of the eye. The result is improved depth of focus and a broader range of distance over which we can see.
A Range of Treatments
Millions of us use prescription eyeglasses, reading glasses, contact lenses or surgical remedies such as LASIK to compensate for presbyopia. Each treatment has advantages and disadvantages, your best option will depend on your age, daily habits, prescription and eye health.
Yet Vuity eye drops may be a good choice for someone who has mild to moderate presbyopia, is between about 40 and 55 years old and prefers to be free of glasses and contacts. (It can help beyond 55, but not with the smallest print.) Like LASIK surgery, insurance doesn’t cover these drops.
Usage and Cautions
Vuity drops may be taken once daily, and the typical effect lasts about six hours. Consequently, people who spend all day staring at spreadsheets or computer screens will need to supplement with other remedies. You can insert contact lenses after instilling the drops, though you should wait at least 10 to 15 minutes.
The most common side effects of Vuity are headaches and redness. Additionally, given that the medication is a miotic, the drops should be avoided in dimly lit environments or while driving at night. People with a history of retinal detachment or retinal thinning should be cautious as it can affect such patients negatively. That’s also true of people with iritis or uveitis, which is a form of inflammation of the eye. Consult with your doctor to find out if Vuity drops are right for you.
Consult with your Horizon Eye doctor to find out if Vuity is right for you. To schedule a consultation at Horizon Eye Care, call 704-365-0555 Monday – Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Also, our optical department closes on Fridays at 2:30 p.m.