FDA-approved eye drops could reduce need for reading glasses

Photo (c) Joachim Liedtke EyeEm - Getty Images

The product reportedly starts working in about 15 minutes

A new eye drop medication for farsightedness is being heralded as a game-changer by both patients and doctors. VUITY, an eye drop product produced by AbbVie that was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is reportedly so effective that it could reduce the need for reading glasses among those affected by presbyopia. 

Presbyopia is an extremely common condition for middle-aged and older consumers. The American Academy of Ophthalmology data claims that it affects an estimated 1.8 billion people worldwide.

According to AbbVie, VUITY starts taking effect in about 15 minutes. For six to 10 hours, the company says users should be able to see things more clearly and sharply. The eye drops work by reducing a person’s pupil size and contracting certain muscles in the eye to help them see up close.

The reviews speak volumes

In EyesOn’s analysis of VUITY, both doctors and patients were asked to weigh in on their experience with the medicine. Everyone agreed that the label “game-changer” fits perfectly.

“Our patients have not really had any options for the treatment of presbyopia, besides just dealing with it or wearing bifocals, progressives, or even contact lenses,” said Dr. Nandini Venkateswaran, a cataract, cornea, and refractive surgery specialist at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

“VUITY is going to provide clinicians with the opportunity to not only address presbyopia as a condition, straightforwardly in the clinic, but then also offer a solution: 'Here's an eye drop that's easy to use, that's easy to access, and will allow you to live a more functional lifestyle without always depending on your glasses or readers, if you are a good candidate.'”

Toni Wright, one of the participants in a clinical trial to test VUITY, also gave the drug her blessing. "It's definitely a life changer," Wright told CBS News.

Patients will still need reading glasses, but just not as often

Wright said she found that she still needed her reading glasses after taking the eye drops, but just not as much. Sathi Maiti, an ocular surface disease fellow at the Periman Eye Institute, said people shouldn’t be too quick to throw their glasses away. 

“I think it is most likely people will end up still needing some kind of eyeglass or contact lens correction, especially given that VUITY was only shown to work for 6 hours,” she said.

“Even if people do use it, they will probably still need some type of reading prescription for the end of the day or days they choose not to use VUITY. It may also end up being something patients use in combination with glasses for their presbyopia, such as wearing their glasses when they require sharp near vision at work, and using VUITY for when they go out, on vacation, or are just at home and don’t need as clear near vision.”

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