FDA approves eye drops that can replace reading glasses for millions

A 30-day supply will cost around $80 and are not covered by insurance

Graig Graziosi
Friday 10 December 2021 16:56 GMT
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A new eye drop could help some people leave their glasses behind forever.

Vuity eye drops were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in October, and have just hit the market this month.

Biopharmaceutical company AbbVie said the eye drops were initially developed to treat presbyopia, better known as age-related blurry vision.

More than 128 million Americans – particularly those over the age of 40 – suffer from some degree of presbyopia. People with the condition find reading words up close more of a struggle than before they had the condition.

According to the company, Vuity drops reportedly take 15 minutes to kick in and then work for six hours after being introduced to the eye.

The drops effectively constrict the size of the eye's pupil, which allows for clearer close-range vision without compromising long-range vision. When applied, the drops reportedly correct the pH balance of the tear film, which is an exceptionally thin layer of fluid that covers the surface of the eye.

“Most adults cope with presbyopia, or difficulty with near vision, as we age. Beginning around the age of 40, many find themselves using reading glasses, holding text further away, or even increasing the font size and lighting on screens to try to see more clearly,” Dr Michael Severino, AbbVie vice chairman and president, said in a release.

The company claims a "statistically significant proportion" of participants in a clinical trial of the eye drops found that after using the drops they could read three additional lines of text on a reading chart.

As with any pharmaceutical product, there are side effects; with Vuity, the most common are headaches and eye redness.

Toni Wright, 54, one of the participants in the trial, spoke to CBS News about her experiences with the eyedrops.

"It's definitely a life changer," she said. "I would not need my readers as much, especially on the computer, where I would always need to have them on."

A 30-day supply of the eyedrops is expected to cost $80, and will be primarily marketed towards people between the ages of 40 and 55. The drops become less effective after age 65, and reportedly are not intended for use while driving at night or working in low-light conditions.

The eye drops are not covered by insurance, and likely will not be covered in the future as eyeglasses are still a less expensive option to treat presbyopia.

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