Health

Hate Wearing Reading Glasses? These Newly FDA-Approved Eye Drops Could Be the Answer

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Anyone in their 40s or older is probably familiar with the arm-extending action needed to read fine print (or even not-so-fine print). After we blow out a certain number of candles on our birthday cake, things get fuzzy up close — and this age-related blurry vision only gets worse over time. But if you don’t like wearing reading glasses and your arm isn’t getting any longer, there’s good news: A new treatment could help return your eyes to their youthful glory.

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The Food and Drug Administration approved Vuity, the first-ever eye drops for blurry vision, in October, and it’s now available at pharmacies nationwide! You’ll need a prescription to get the drops, and insurance probably won’t cover them, but for people with a mild case of presbyopia (otherwise known as age-related farsightedness), this could be a game-changer.

What is presbyopia?

Presbyopia affects the lens of your eye, which changes shape to allow you to focus on objects at different distances. Over time, the lens becomes less flexible (much like other parts of our bodies do with age). At the same time, small muscles attached to the lens of your eye get weaker. The result? “Your ability to zoom in decreases,” Dr. Scott M. MacRae told the New York Times.

Presbyopia affects nearly 90 percent of American adults over age 45, and the condition tends to worsen as you age. While there are things you can do to try to strengthen your eye muscles (pencil push-ups, anyone?), most of us end up wearing reading glasses at some point, no matter how well we take care of our eyes.

How do blurry vision eye drops work?

Vuity eye drops, which are the first of several eye drops for blurry vision to be approved, could be the reading-glasses alternative that help reverse presbyopia. In clinical trials that have not yet been published in peer-reviewed journals, Vuity has been shown to dramatically improve vision.

Here’s how they work: The drops help constrict the size of the pupil, giving the stiff lens and the weakened muscles around it some help. The main drug in the product is an optimized form of pilocarpine, which is often used to treat glaucoma. In other words, this isn’t an entirely new treatment for eye troubles — it’s just being applied in a new way.

When researchers presented their findings earlier this year, they showed that Vuity improved participants’ close-range vision for up to six hours and their mid-range vision for up to ten hours. (The latter is what helps us see clearly during tasks like working at a computer.) Even better? The drops don’t affect long-range vision at all! That gives them a clear advantage over reading glasses, which have to constantly be taken off and put back on when you’re trying to focus on multiple things.

A monthly prescription for Vuity is likely to cost around $80, and the drops mainly help people with a light to mild case of presbyopia. So, if you have a more advanced case — or just don’t want to shell out the cash — reading glasses will probably still be necessary. Talk it over with your eye doctor to see if eye drops for blurry vision could help you. And keep in mind, other treatments are in development, and insurance companies could decide to pay for the drops at some point in the future. So stay tuned!

Here’s to science helping us see more clearly — and say goodbye to those reading glasses.

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