Learn how these FDA-approved eye drops for presbyopia are helping patients achieve freedom from reading glasses.
VUITY™ drops are the first FDA-approved eye drops that treat the age-related decline of close vision (presbyopia). Since their approval in 2021, VUITY™ drops have gained popularity in the eye care community. This popularity has spread into the mainstream press, including a recent write-up in the New York Times.
The approval of VUITY™ drops is an exciting development for patients looking for relief from presbyopia - especially for those who want freedom from reading glasses. As the treatment becomes more widely available, patients should understand how the VUITY™ eye drops work and what outcomes they can expect.
Presbyopia is an eye condition where the eye's natural lens hardens over time. As the lens becomes rigid, patients have difficulty seeing objects at a close range.
Presbyopia is a natural part of aging. Most patients begin to notice this decline in close vision after turning 40.
There is no way to prevent or reverse presbyopia. However, patients can correct the disorder with reading glasses and specialty contact lenses. They can also opt for surgeries like refractive lens exchange (RLE), which replace the eye's hard lens with a new artificial intraocular lens.
While there are eye drops on the market for a variety of conditions, VUITY™ is the first FDA-approved eye drop that treats presbyopia in adults. The drops offer patients relief without reading glasses, contacts, or refractive surgery.
The drops are a form of the anticholinergic medication Pilocarpine. Most VUITY™ drops are available in 1.25% strength and come in a 5 ML bottle.
VUITY™ drops temporarily shrink the size of the pupils, allowing them to focus on close objects.
They do this by binding to receptors in the eye called muscarinic receptors and making the pupils contract. This contraction makes the pupils smaller and temporarily improves near and intermediate-range vision.
Once placed in the eye, drops usually take 15 minutes to have an effect. Drops can work between 6 to 10 hours. It typically takes several months of consistent use for the drops to perform best.
Before their approval by the FDA, there were two clinical studies - Gemini 1 and Gemini 2 - that tested the safety and efficacy of VUITY™ drops for presbyopia. The trials studied 750 participants between the ages of 40 - 55 who suffered from presbyopia.
The studies found that the VUITY™ drops improved short-range vision after 30 days. Patients who received VUITY™ eyedrops achieved a 3-line gain or more reading a near-vision eye chart. However, studies have not found VUITY™ has an effect on long-distance vision.
Patients did not have serious side effects in the Gemini studies - although some experienced minor side effects. The most common of these were conjunctival hyperemia (a type of eye inflammation) and headaches. These were seen in less than five percent of patients.
Other reported side effects for VUITY™ include:
After VUITY™’s approval, there have been rare instances of retinal detachment. Because of this, it is recommended you have a retinal exam before taking the drops.
Most patients will take the drops every day. They will use one drop per eye a day, along with any other eye medications they use. If a patient wears contacts, they should take out their lenses before using the drops.
Before applying the eyedrops, patients should wash their hands and avoid touching the dropper tip. While applying the drops, patients should tilt their head back, look upwards, and place the dropper directly over their eyes.
Once the drops have been applied, patients can close their eyes, and gently apply pressure for 1-2 minutes before opening. Look here for more best practices about applying eye drops.
VUITY™ drops require a prescription from your eye doctor. With the prescription, patients can pick up the drops at most pharmacies in the US.
VUITY™ drops are not considered a medical necessity and are not covered by most insurance plans. However, patients who use reading glasses may save money over time by using the drops instead of purchasing new glasses.
If you’re in the Los Angeles area and would like to schedule an eye exam, please contact Dr. Besser's office for a consultation.
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