FDA Approval of Eye Drops for Presbyopia

Presbyopia is the normal gradual loss of near focusing ability that occurs with age. Most people begin to notice the effects of presbyopia sometime after age 40 when they start having trouble seeing small print clearly — including text messages on their phone. It is an annoying part of aging and continues to worsen until around age 65.

If you notice you have begun holding books and newspapers at arm’s length to be able to read them, it may be a sign. You may realize these symptoms are worse if you are tired or are in an area with dim lighting.

You are in good company; Researchers estimate that nearly 2 billion people worldwide have presbyopia. It is a leading cause of vision impairment that reduces people’s quality of life and productivity, especially in areas where vision care is not as accessible. It impacts the lives of about 85% of people 40 years or older, and it can get worse with time.

The cause is a gradual thickening and loss of flexibility of the natural lens inside your eye. These age-related changes occur within the proteins in the lens, making the lens harder and less elastic over time. Additionally, changes also take place in the muscle fibers surrounding the lens. With less elasticity, it gets difficult for the eyes to focus on close objects.

With all that being said, do you want to chalk this up to one of those things that happen as you get older, or would you like to learn about a new eye drop to treat the condition?

The FDA has just approved the first and only Eye Drop for Presbyopia. Vuity (pilocarpine) was approved October 2021. Pilocarpine, which is a medication categorized as anticholinergic, is available in a strength of 1.25%, and it comes in a 5 mL bottle. It is available with a prescription after seeing an eye doctor and is not available over the counter (OTC).

According to the manufacturer, Vuity works by making your pupils temporarily smaller, so they can better focus on objects that are close to you. After Vuity is dispensed into the eyes, it usually begins to work within 15 minutes. It can continue working for up to 6 hours. It may take about a month for the medication to work at its best. Only one drop per day into each eye is all it takes!

The studies found that Vuity significantly improved short-range vision compared to the placebo after 30 days of use. These effects were studied in low light conditions, or conditions that are about halfway between daylight brightness and darkness found at nighttime.

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