This new eye drop is called Vuity, produced by well-known pharmaceutical company Allergan, and was approved for use in October of 2021, hitting the shelves as of December 2021.
But before we get into all the details, let’s take a step back and talk about presbyopia.
Presbyopia is a condition that will occur in literally everyone. It is unavoidable at this time, and there is currently no “cure”, only treatments.
Within the eye we have a structure called the crystalline lens.
The lens is located near the center of the eye. It is a clear, flexible structure that changes shape depending on the target at focus (i.e. distance, intermediate, near) in a process called accommodation.
The younger we are, the more accommodation (ability to flex to clear images up close) an individual has. As we age, the lens becomes less and less flexible, until reaching absolute 0 around the age of 65.
What this means is, as we approach our mid-life years, we lose the ability to accommodate and near images become blurry. Many individuals complain that their arms aren’t quite long enough, and that they need to hold reading materials (books, phones, tablets, etc.) further away in order to read.
Typically, individuals will start to experience this problem around the age of 45. It starts out as a nuisance, but quickly develops into a problem requiring assistance from reading glasses, or “cheaters” as many individuals like to call them.
Reading prescriptions tend to start out lower (around +1.00) as there is still some accommodation left, but as time marches on, powers will begin to creep up until reaching the absolute limit of the accommodative system requiring reading glasses in the +2.50 to +3.00 range.
While these solutions are great options, they still require the need for wearing correction, which is frustrating for many individuals.
More specifically, studies have shown that 26-31% of individuals using Vuity achieved a 3 line gain in near vision after application of Vuity eye drops without losing more than 1 line of distance vision.
After instilling Vuity, Joe was able to see 20/25 at distance and read 20/40 (roughly newspaper print size) at near.
While this is not perfect, Joe will most likely still want to wear reading glasses when trying to read a book or the back of medicine bottles, it did improve his vision at near enough that he could most likely get by reading restaurant menus, going grocery shopping, etc. without his reading glasses.
Vuity is composed of a drug called Pilocarpine HCl solution at a concentration percentage of 1.25%.
Pilocarpine is a drug that has been around for decades and has historically been used to help lower eye pressure in those experiencing acute angle closure (pilocarpine HCl solution 2%) or glaucoma (pilocarpine HCl solution 4%).
Pilocarpine is typically reserved more for emergent situations when eye pressure needs to be lowered ASAP as it does have a higher side effect profile than newer glaucoma medications including severe headaches around the brow region, myopic shift in prescription (becoming more near-sighted), and nausea/vomiting.
The side effect profile has been shown to be less severe in Vuity drops, with the main complaints being eye redness and headaches of the brow region. This could be due to the lower dosing concentration of the drop.
Pilocarpine works to improve near vision in the fact that it constricts the pupil—making it smaller.
When the pupil becomes smaller, it increases the depth of focus meaning images will remain clear at a greater variety of distances. This is exactly how Vuity works—it makes the pupil smaller, allowing an individual to see up to 3 lines clearer at near without the need for glasses.
If you’re interested in Vuity, it may be worth at least a try to see if it would be beneficial for you.
Studies have shown improvement in just under 1/3 of those who try Vuity, so it will not benefit everyone, but it may be beneficial to you. The only person who can determine that is you!
At this time, the cost of Vuity is roughly $85.00 out of pocket for a 30 day supply. Since it is new, it is not covered by most, if not all, insurance companies, although that could change in the future.
There are also some contraindications to Vuity. Individuals who have retinal detachments, active inflammation of the eye (iritis or cornea infection), or pupillary block glaucoma should not take Vuity eyedrops.
If you are interested in trying Vuity, be sure to have a discussion with your eye doctor about Vuity, as it is currently only available with prescription. Your doctor will be better able to discuss this drop with you and determine if it is safe for you to use.