How VUITY eye drops treat presbyopia
VUITY: FDA-approved eye drops for presbyopia
Pharmaceutical company Allergan recently announced the launch of VUITY eye drops, which have been approved by the FDA to treat the effects of presbyopia. The eye drops are a pilocarpine HCl ophthalmic solution (1.25%).
VUITY eye drops are now available in pharmacies nationwide, leaving many people curious about how the drops work, if they have potential side effects, and how they compare to other forms of presbyopia correction.
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What is presbyopia and why does it happen?
Presbyopia is an age-related vision change that makes it challenging for people to see near objects or reading material clearly. This change in vision usually begins around age 40 and affects almost 2 billion people worldwide, including 128 million in the United States alone.
Once you start experiencing presbyopia, it usually progresses until age 65 to 70. After this, it tends to stabilize.
The most significant cause of presbyopia, and what makes it so common, is the natural stiffening of the eye’s lens as you get older. Similar to a camera’s lens, the lens of the eye adjusts to focus on objects that are close up, far away, and everywhere in between.
The ability to make these adjustments is called eye accommodation. Accommodation relies on the flexibility of the eye’s lens to focus at multiple distances. Along with the lens becoming less malleable, the eye’s inner muscles — that are used to change the eye’s shape — become less effective.
As you age, proteins that make up the crystalline lens start to thicken and become stiff. Without lens elasticity, your eyes cannot accommodate near vision very well.
Because of this, people with presbyopia often require more lighting, or they need to hold reading material an arm’s length away from them to see it clearly.
SEE RELATED: Presbyopia FAQ
How VUITY works to counter presbyopia
Part of the eye accommodation process also includes changes in the pupil. When focusing up close, the pupils constrict to help sharpen near objects. This is called the pinhole effect and it improves your range of vision.
VUITY eye drops work by temporarily causing your pupils to constrict. This makes them better able to focus on near material.
This is achieved using a special (and improved-upon) formulation of pilocarpine, an older eye medication that consistently causes significant burning and stinging when it is instilled in the eyes. VUITY addresses these issues with pHast technology, which causes the solution to adjust to your tear film’s pH almost immediately. It then works with the eyes’ natural ability to reduce pupil size.
The result is improved near and intermediate vision without disrupted distance vision. Results are experienced in as little as 15 minutes after application and they can last up to 6 to 10 hours.
For best results:
Only apply one drop of VUITY to each eye, once a day.
If you wear contact lenses remove them before applying VUITY eye drops, and wait 10 minutes application before putting your contacts back in.
If you use other eye medications in addition to VUITY, doctors recommend waiting at least five minutes between each dose.
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How does VUITY compare to other types of presbyopia correction?
Before VUITY eye drops, presbyopes relied on other methods for correcting their presbyopia. These include reading glasses, multifocal contact lenses and progressive eyeglass lenses.
While each method of correction has its pros and cons, comparing them against each other can help you decide which method of correction best fits your lifestyle.
VUITY eye drops
VUITY eye drops stimulate the pupils’ ability to constrict, which makes it easier for your eyes to focus on up-close objects and text.
They temporarily eliminate the need for reading glasses.
Only one eye drop per eye is needed each day.
They can improve near vision over time with continued use.
Results only last up to six hours.
Temporary problems may occur when changing focus from near to far.
Common side effects include eye redness, headache and more.
Reading glasses are the oldest and one of the most common methods for correcting presbyopia. The lenses have different strengths of magnification that enlarge small, hard-to-read words and improve near vision.
Readers are inexpensive, widely available and can be bought over-the-counter.
They only need to be worn when reading or viewing things up close.
They must be kept or carried around when they’re not being used.
Readers can be inconvenient for people who have poor distance vision as well.
Finding the “right” lens strength if shopping over-the-counter can be challenging.
Multifocal contact lenses
Multifocal contact lenses are designed to correct distance vision and near vision in a single contact lens. They can have a simultaneous, blended design, or a segmented design that mimics bifocal lenses.
They correct near and distance vision.
Contacts provide glasses-free vision correction.
They can be beneficial for people with an irregular cornea shape.
Reading glasses may still be needed at times.
Contacts may be more expensive than other presbyopia correction methods.
Desired results aren’t achieved by everyone.
Progressive eyeglass lenses
Progressive lenses are the eyeglass version of multifocal contacts. The line-free lens design offers a seamless transition that corrects vision at all distances.
Progressives are a great option for people who already wear glasses for distance vision.
Lenses don’t just correct near and far vision, but everywhere in between.
You can wear them all the time, which eliminates the need to carry them around like you do for reading glasses.
It can take a while to adjust to progressive lenses.
Progressives are more expensive than single-vision lenses or reading glasses.
They may cause peripheral vision distortion when moving the eyes left to right.
Where to find VUITY eye drops
VUITY eye drops are widely available in pharmacies across the U.S. — you just need a prescription from an eye doctor for purchase.
At your next eye exam, discuss with your eye doctor whether VUITY eye drops are right for you. They can write you a prescription to pick up at your nearest eligible pharmacy.
READ MORE: Combining Presbyopia Options
Presbyopia: Overview. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. June 2020.
FDA approves Vuity: The first and only eye drop for presbyopia. GoodRx Health. November 2021.
FDA approves eye drops for treatment of presbyopia. Ophthalmology Times. October 2021.
An innovative new prescription eye drop is here. VUITY. Accessed February 2022.
Pros and cons of progressive lenses. American Academy of Ophthalmology. June 2020.
Page published on Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Medically reviewed on Tuesday, February 8, 2022