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New Eye Drops Could Limit Need for Reading Glasses

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It’s no secret that as we age into our 40s and 50s, our ​near vision can weaken, making it difficult to see things up close clearly. But a new eye drop could be a game-changer for adults living with blurry near vision, also known as presbyopia. In October 2021, the Food and Drug Administration approved VUITY, an eye drop used to treat age-related vision blurriness. The following December, the drops became available with a prescription. 

What is age-related blurry near vision?

Presbyopia is a condition that makes it hard for middle-aged and older adults to see things up close. It happens because the lens (the inner part of the eye that helps the eye focus) stops focusing light correctly on the retina (a light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye).

In Greek, the term “presbyopia” means “old eye” because the condition worsens with age. You may start to notice presbyopia shortly after age 40. Those with the condition may find that they hold reading material farther away to see it more clearly or use brighter lights for reading.

The National Eye Institute estimates that nearly 128 million Americans live with blurry vision. Most people experience eye strain, headaches and trouble seeing things up close. Presbyopia is diagnosed by having a simple eye exam with your optometrist or ophthalmologist.

How does VUITY work?

VUITY, used once a day, works to improve near vision without impacting distance vision by reducing your pupil size. It contracts certain muscles in the eye to help you see up close.

The drops typically work in about 15 minutes and provides sharper vision for 6-10 hours. If you wear contact lenses, you should remove them before using VUITY and wait 10 minutes before putting them back in. The recommended dose is one drop in each eye once per day.

VUITY works best for people who have mild to moderate blurry near vision, which typically affects those ages 40-55. The drops are not meant to replace reading glasses entirely but could greatly reduce the amount of time you have to wear them.

Since the drops reduce your pupil size, it may be difficult to see in the dark or drive at night while using them. If you are using another eye medication, it is advised to wait at least five minutes before applying it.

The most common side effects are headaches and eye redness.

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