Will near-vision-boosting eye drops replace reading glasses? Not completely

by Martin McConnell

Vuity Eye Drops received FDA approval in October 2021 and have since become a popular topic in the world of optometry. Vuity aims to replace traditional reading glasses in many patients over the age of 40. The once-a-day eye drop prescription treats presbyopia, also known as age-related blurry vision.

“The way it works is pretty straightforward,” said Dr. Craig See of the Cleveland Clinic’s Cole Eye Institute. “It shrinks the pupil down. The ability we have to focus is dependent on our pupil size. … Your eye can read a bit better because the pupil is smaller.”

Vuity was fast-tracked through the FDA approval system as its active ingredient, pilocarpine, had been approved to treat glaucoma more than 30 years ago. 

“We already know that this medication can be used safely,” See said. “That process usually takes a couple years.”

Although Vuity is safe, there are drawbacks to the drug. Patients, for example, may not see very well in low lighting after using the drops because of the shrunken pupil.

“You wouldn’t want to take this in the evening,” See said. 

He added that patients with a history of retinal detachment or inflammation inside the eye should not use the drops. Neither should those wearing contacts, as the medication may stick to the lens. 

See doesn’t believe Vuity will fully replace reading glasses just yet. Rather it should be used in certain spots that make sense to the patient. 

“This drop is not going to allow you to sit down and read for hours at a time, to tally comfortably,” he said. “The idea here is that you would improve the near vision so that … if you’re at a meeting and you need to glance down at your notes, you’re not having to put on reading glasses.” 

 He recommended interested users speak with their eye doctor about the drops and offered advice “for people that are hoping to limit their dependence on reading glasses.

“I think as long as they go into it knowing that it’s not going to be as good as your reading glasses, it can make sense.” ∞