Misplaced Your Reading Glasses … Again?
By: Nikhil Wagle, M.D.
Presbyopia, or age-related blurry near vision, is a common, progressive condition that reduces the eye’s ability to focus on near objects and affects approximately 128 million Americans or nearly half of the U.S. adult population, usually over the age of 40.
Presbyopia comes from the Greek word meaning “old eye.” In a non-presbyopic eye, the clear lens behind the iris (the colored part of the eye) is a dynamic structure that can change shape and focus light on the retina, allowing one to see things up close. In an eye that suffers from presbyopia, the clear lens hardens and is not able to change shape as easily, making it difficult to focus on near objects. With early presbyopia, a brighter light may help to see things up close along with holding reading material an arm’s length away. As presbyopia advances, the only treatment options available until recently included reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals, progressive lenses in glasses, monovision or multifocal contact lenses.
In October 2021, the FDA approved VUITY 1.25% (pilocarpine HCl ophthalmic solution), the first and only eye drop to treat presbyopia. The once-daily prescription eye drop improves near and intermediate vision without impacting distance for adults with age-related blurry near vision. The approval came after phase three clinical studies of the eye drops showed they worked in as little as 15 minutes and lasted for up to six hours. VUITY’s proprietary pHast technology formulation allows it to adjust the physiologic PH of the tear film in your eyes, allowing the pupil size to be reduced, improving near and intermediate vision while maintaining distance vision.
The initial recommended dose for VUITY was one drop in each eye daily. With the recent FDA approval of twice-daily dosing, the duration of effect of VUITY may be extended for up to 9 hours. Still, there are additional precautions to take if you use other topical eye medications or contact lenses (it’s advised to wait five minutes between topical eye treatments and 10 minutes before putting contacts in). There were no serious adverse events in the clinical trials in any study participants, though mild side effects like headache and eye redness were infrequently reported.
While VUITY does offer a new option to patients who suffer from mild to moderate presbyopia, it isn’t intended to act as a total replacement for your reading glasses. You should definitely talk to your eye care provider if the close-up vision is blurry and you think you might be a good candidate for VUITY, but keep your reading glasses handy in case you need them in addition to the eye drops. In addition, you must exercise caution when driving at night or performing hazardous activities in poor lighting. Moreover, do not drive or use machinery if the vision isn’t clear.
If you are interested in trying VUITY, your first step should be setting up an appointment with your eye doctor to see if it is right for you. Presbyopia is diagnosed through a simple eye exam, which will include a refraction assessment to measure how well you see objects at certain distances. If your doctor thinks VUITY could help you, they can write you a prescription for the drug. Please note that insurance does not cover this treatment.
If you find wearing bifocals, trifocals or carrying around reading glasses a nuisance, there is now an alternative option for you!
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Do not use VUITY if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.
Use caution when driving at night or performing hazardous activities in poor lighting.
Temporary problems when changing focus between near and distant objects may occur. Do not drive or use machinery if vision is not clear.
Seek immediate medical care if you experience any sudden vision loss.
If you wear contact lenses, they should be removed prior to VUITY use. Wait 10 minutes after dosing before reinserting contact lenses.
Do not touch the dropper tip to any surface as this may contaminate the contents.
If more than one topical eye medication is being used, they must be administered at least 5 minutes apart.
The most common side effects are headache and eye redness. These are not all the possible side effects of VUITY.
Please see full Prescribing Information at www.VUITY.com.
Bio: Nikhil Wagle, M.D., is board certified with a fellowship in glaucoma. He sees patients in our Rock Island and Bettendorf offices. For more information, visit www.esaeyecare.com.
The material contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider.