What is Presbyopia and Can it be Treated?

Eye drops for presbyopia
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Those with presbyopia may experience relief with a new drug.

Eyesight tends to decline with age.

I know.

I have “cheaters” in nearly every room of our home.

The symptoms and severity are not the same for every person.

Some simply have trouble seeing in the dark.

Others may find cataracts developing in their eyes and obscuring their vision.

According to a recent AARP article titled “Can Eye Drops Replace Your Reading Glasses?,” one common condition of the eye is presbyopia.

Eye drops for presbyopia are now available by prescription.
Prescription eye drops for presbyopia.

What is presbyopia?

Presbyopia is a condition where people develop blurred “near vision” from age.

Although it is fairly common, the FDA approved the first eye drops specifically for the treatment of this ailment in October 2021.

These eye drops are sold under the name Vuity and contain pilocarpine.

Pilocarpine has been used for about 120 years in the treatment of glaucoma and has been considered a very safe drug.

The drug is produced by a subsidiary of AbbVie known as Allergan and debuted on December 9, 2021.

How does Vuity work?

According to the AbbVie advisory board consultant and clinical professor of ophthalmology at Tulane University and New York University Marguerite McDonald, M.D., the drug constricts certain muscles to reduce pupil size.

Because of the constriction, up-close vision is improved in those with presbyopia.

Vuity is currently approved to be applied once a day and will work for up to six hours.

The eye drops should begin working within 15 minutes of application.

Alas, although it can benefit those who work on the computer and need reading glasses, it may not be a perfect solution.

Several of the users have reported to have a challenges in shifting focus between far and near objects.

That can be a problem.

During the trials and development of the drug, the researchers found participants to have improved by three lines or more on reading charts without sacrificing distance vision.

These reports were taken from a measurement three hours after the dosing on Day 30 of the trial.

Can you take this medication for presbyopia and still wear your contact lens?

The answer is yes with the recommendation to wait at least 15 minutes between application of the drops and insertion of the lenses.

These eye drops for presbyopia are also fine to use with other eye drops as long as you wait five minutes between each application.

Does the Vuity have a target patient?

The ideal patients are those who are in their 40s or 50s who prefer not to wear reading glasses.

Although these individuals are old enough to develop presbyopia, they likely are too young to develop cataracts.

Because cataracts involve the yellowing of lenses, light already has a hard time entering the eye.

By restricting the pupils, vision would appear even darker.

Although many people may find this drug to be helpful, it does come at a price.

Depending on the pharmacy, Vuity is $86 for a 2.5 milliliter bottle to last about 30 days.

Although there are about nine other eye drops in development for presbyopia, Vuity is the first approved by the FDA.

Personally, I think I will continue with my “cheaters” for now.

Reference: AARP (Dec. 17, 2021) “Can Eye Drops Replace Your Reading Glasses?”

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