New FDA-Approved Eyedrops Could Improve Close-Up Vision

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A new FDA-approved eyedrop medicine could replace reading glasses for millions of Americans who have age-related blurry vision.

The product, called Vuity, was approved by the FDA in October and went on the market last week. The new medicine begins working in about 15 minutes and provides a sharper vision for 6 to 10 hours.

Vuity is the first FDA-approved eyedrop to treat the condition known as presbyopia, which tends to affect people ages 40 and older. The prescription drug uses the eye’s natural ability to reduce its pupil size.

“Reducing the pupil size expands the depth of field or the depth of focus, and that allows you to focus at different ranges naturally,” George Waring, MD, the lead researcher for the clinical trial, told CBS News.

For people who use the drops, it may be hard to adjust their focus between objects at first. During the clinical trial, the drops had mild side effects such as headaches and red eyes.

“This is something that we anticipate will be well-tolerated long-term, but this will be evaluated and studied in a formal capacity,” Waring said.

Presbyopia can be diagnosed through a basic eye exam by an eye doctor, according to a news release from Allergan, which makes the drops. It’s a common and progressive eye condition that affects 128 million Americans.

In the clinical trial, 750 participants with presbyopia tested the drops, and a “statistically significant proportion” was able to read three or more additional lines on a reading chart, Allergan said.

The drops are intended for mild to intermediate cases of presbyopia and shouldn’t be used when driving at night or doing activities in low-light conditions. The drops also won’t help people with other eye conditions, such as myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness).

The drops work best for ages 40-55 and are less effective after age 65.

A 30-day supply costs about $80 and is not covered by insurance, CBS News reported.

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