5 Things About Eye Drops for Blurry Reading Vision
- February 9, 2022
Have you learned about the prescriptive eye drops called Vuity (1.25% pilocarpine HCl, AbbVie)? Vuity can temporarily help age-related blurry reading vision or presbyopia. Vuity received FDA approval in October of 2021. Here is what you need to know.
The drug has a longstanding history
Pilocarpine is an old drug. In fact, doctors have used it for more than 100 years to lower eye pressure in glaucoma patients. Pilocarpine opens the internal fluid drainage system of the eye, called the trabecular meshwork, thereby enhancing fluid outflow. Pilocarpine also shrinks the pupil which temporarily improves your ability to see close-up. This is like how a smaller opening or aperture inside a camera helps to provide clearer focus at a greater range of distances. In other words, a smaller aperture or pupil helps to increase the depth of focus. The second effect of pilocarpine – shrinking the pupil – underlies how Vuity can improve blurry reading vision.
Vuity costs over $80 per month. Do not expect medical insurance to pay for it because it is cosmetic. Pharmaceutical companies love elective drugs because it absolves insurance reimbursement problems. Even better for the drug company, the effects of Vuity are temporary, which means that the drug is used recurringly. The effects of Vuity kick in as soon as 15 minutes after instillation and can last beyond 6 hours. Vuity’s outcome varies from person to person, so patients can test it out to decide whether to use on a continued basis.
There are potential adverse effects with Vuity. The most common are headaches and eye redness, which the prescribing information for Vuity discloses to occur >5% of the time. There are patients that report that Vuity burns upon instillation, as described by this writer for The New York Times. Vuity may also impair nighttime driving. Perhaps the most concerning possibility is that pilocarpine is believed to increase the risk of retinal detachment. That is why patients at higher risk for retinal detachment may not be suitable candidates for Vuity and require likely require dilated eye examination first.
Don’t expect “perfect” near vision
The inclusion criteria for the FDA clinical study of Vuity included patients from 40 to 55 years of age. Outside of this age range, Vuity may not work as well. While Vuity can incrementally restore near vision, it is most reasonable to expect using it as an adjunct to tried-and-true reading glasses. Ultimately, your individual results with Vuity may vary.
Other drops for blurry reading vision are coming
Vuity is the first drug to target restoration of close-up vision. In the next few years, expect several other eye drops for age-related blurry vision to join this category. Future drugs may work even better. Just like how several drugs for psoriasis are heavily advertised on TV at the moment, you can expect a similar dynamic when multiple prescription eye drops for presbyopia are commercially available.
If you reside in San Diego are interested in a prescription for Vuity, request your eye examination at ReVision Optometry or call our office at 619.299.6064.