YORK, Pa. — The FDA recently approved prescription eye drops that treat age-related vision loss, but are they right for you? In this week's Health Smart, FOX43 talked to an eye doctor and a patient to find out more.
"I love it...I can pick things up and just read them without wearing my glasses or finding my glasses," Susan Jackson, practice administrator at Medical Optometry America said. Jackson is one of the many patients using the new eye drops called VUITY, which are designed to eliminate reading glasses for people with presbyopia, or age-related farsightedness.
Dr. Leslie O'Dell with Medical Optometry America says 128 million Americans have the aging eye condition and explained why it happens when people are in their 40s.
"A lens becomes more ridged and doesn't want to flex, so then you're like a camera locked at a position and you can't bring your focus point in to your phone or where your computer sits," Dr. O'Dell said.
The once-a-day drop works by altering the size of the patient's pupil. The active ingredient in the drops isn't anything new. Pilocaron has been used successfully in glaucoma management for the past 50 to 75 years.
"We kind of knew but we didn't really ask our patients, 'Are you reading better?' because at the time, it was just one of those things that you weren't thinking about," Dr. O'Dell said.
The drops can help patients see up close for 6 to 8 hours. Side effects include headache, redness, and stinging when the drops are applied. However, if a patient maintains using the drops every day, those symptoms lessen and go away.
"Just being able to have the option of having the freedom from something that is tying you down every day, I mean patients are thrilled with that," Dr. O'Dell said.
"I wear glasses on top of my head, putting them up, and down, so knowing that there was a drop that made it so I didn't have to wear my glasses anywhere because I don't like wearing them, it's a miracle, it really is, honestly," she said.
Vuity is still labeled as a cosmetic prescription, so it's not covered by insurance. A bottle that lasts about a month costs around $80 and you do need a prescription from your eye doctor.
If you'd like more information about Vuity, click here.
If you'd like more information about Medical Optometry America, click here.