Eventually, everyone will need to use reading glasses as they age. But a new eye drop is hoping to make reading glasses a thing of the past. Vuity is the brand name of the drug pilocarpine and is now FDA-approved to treat presbyopia, which is age-related blurry near-vision. Presbyopia is typically treated with reading glasses, bifocals, or multifocal contact lenses. Vuity is a once-a-day eye drop that can help you see up close without affecting your long-distance eyesight.
What Causes Presbyopia
As you age, the lens in your eye loses its ability to change shape to allow you to focus on nearby objects.
A common sign that someone is having difficulty seeing is squinting. The squinting effect helps your eyes see more clearly because it effectively constricts your pupil mechanically. While reading glasses are typically what eye doctors recommend to treat presbyopia, the advantage of Vuity drops is that they don’t alter your long-range vision.
Learn about contacts for presbyopia.
How Do Vuity Drops Work
Allergan’s Vuity drops work to reverse the symptoms of presbyopia by constricting the size of the pupil. If you have ever had your eyes dilated at the doctor for an eye exam, these drops essentially do the opposite.
Vuity was tested in multiple phase-three clinical trials with 750 participants aged 40 – 55, who were administered the drops once daily.
What Is Pilocarpine
The main active ingredient in Vuity is pilocarpine, and while it is now FDA-approved to treat presbyopia, pilocarpine is among the oldest eye drops used by ophthalmologists. However, it’s still unclear if Vuity will be widely prescribed.
“Pilocarpine has been around a very long time and has been used as a treatment for glaucoma. Some ophthalmologists have prescribed a more dilute concentration of pilocarpine to help with glare. Vuity is the same medication but in a less potent form and is now being used for presbyopia. With that said, this medication should not be prescribed without understanding the risks, one of which is retinal detachment,” said Dr. Jaclyn Gurwin, a leading ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon at Kremer Eye Center.
What Are The Side Effects Of Vuity?
Like all drugs, you may experience side effects from using the eye drop. During clinical trials for Vuity, researchers noted the following side effects:
- eye redness
- blurred vision
- eye pain
- visual impairment
- eye irritation
- increased production of tears
- difficulty seeing at night
- increased risk for retinal detachment
Vuity and Retinal Detachment
Vuity, or pilocarpine ophthalmic, increases the risk of retinal detachment because the use of miotic agents can cause a drug-induced accommodative or ciliary spasm. This could cause the vitreous and lens to move forward and result in a tear of the retina. Talk to your doctor to understand the risks before taking Vuity.
In general, increased myopia or nearsightedness is a contraindication. In other words, you are more likely to suffer a retinal detachment if you are severely myopic, relative to someone who is less myopic or hyperopic.
How Long Do Vuity Drops Last?
In clinical studies, a single drop of Vuity in each eye improved near vision for 6 hours and intermediate vision (what you use to look at a computer monitor) for 10 hours.
Is Vuity Covered By Insurance?
It’s hard to predict which insurance carriers, if any, will cover Vuity. Prescription reading glasses and contact lenses for reading are typically covered by vision insurance.
Before using the drops, remove your contact lenses and wait a few minutes before putting them back in.
If you wear contact lenses and would like to save money, you can use our contact lens price comparison tool to see which online store currently has the lowest price available.
Dr. Danielle Kelvas, M.D. earned her medical degree from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN. She served a term as the National Chair of Global Health for the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), regularly speaking to legislators on Capitol Hill (USA) to advocate for healthcare reform, and published a global health program for medical students that is used by New York Medical College and AMSA. In addition to her medical expertise, Dr. Kelvas is passionate about helping protect at-risk communities.