Goodbye to reading glasses: they approve the first drops that would end presbyopia

The first ophthalmic drops to treat presbyopia were approved for marketing in the United States. The active ingredient is pilocarpine and they can already be purchased with a prescription in that country.

Last update: December 23, 2021

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for sale the first eye drops that would control presbyopia. Since October 2021 there is authorization from the body, but recently they have reached pharmacies.

It is worth clarifying that this drug is available, for now, only in the United States. In any case, the laboratories in charge of its production could extend the distribution if the acceptance is good.

We are going to analyze what presbyopia is about and what studies support these first drops to combat presbyopia. The breakthrough could be a relief for many patients.

What is presbyopia?

Presbyopia is an eye disease. In general, those affected are over 40 years of age, so age is considered the main risk factor. Not necessarily because aging predisposes to a disease, but because of the changes that the eye undergoes over time.

Presbyopia patients gradually lose the ability to focus on objects near the eyes. At the same time, distant vision usually remains unchanged.

Due to this situation, it is common for people over 40-50 years to have to move away the pages they are reading to focus them and be able to perceive what they have in front of them. In the same way, eye strain becomes commonplace, since much of the day they are trying to focus, which translates into pain in the eyes and headaches.

The explanation of the causes of presbyopia are in the lens. This structure inside the eyeball hardens with age, preventing it from retaining the flexibility to adapt, like a lens, to nearby objects. The result is an out of focus image on the retina.

The eyeball can be affected by many pathologies. Those related to vision itself are the most frequent.

What are the new drops that would end presbyopia?

The company Allergan ®, a subsidiary of AbbVie ®, announced that can now market the drops in the United States Vuity ®. They were authorized by the FDA as a treatment for mild cases of presbyopia, with the possibility of achieving a limited reversal of symptoms over time.

Until now, the only alternative for this disease was glasses. But with the drops Vuity ® a prescription drug may be available for the approach of some patients who do not have a need for large optical magnifications.

The drops contain pilocarpine as the active ingredient. This substance is already known in medicine, especially in the area of ​​ophthalmology. What the laboratory in question has achieved is to optimize the concentration in the formula.

Pilocarpine is a drug that reduces the size of the pupil. It interacts with cholinergic receptors in the eyeball and causes the sphincter of the iris, as well as the ciliary muscle, to contract.

The constricted pupil improves focus, increasing the depth of field of vision naturally. According to the company, when applying these drops the effect takes 15 minutes to appear and lasts between 6 to 10 hours.

What studies support this drug?

FDA approval for Vuity ® was based on 2 scientific studies that were carried out with 750 participants. The identifying names of these investigations were GEMINI 1 and GEMINI 2.

The volunteers were between 40 and 55 years old and suffered from presbyopia. They were divided into two groups: one received concentrated pilocarpine and the other did not.

The applications of the ophthalmic drops were made daily. The results showed that those treated with Vuity ® improved near vision, increased perception of contrasts and they did not lose visual acuity at a distance.

The only adverse effects that were recorded were red eyes and headaches, which occurred in approximately 5% of the participants.

Red eyes have been the most common adverse effect in company investigations.

The drops that would end presbyopia are a hope

These drops that would improve presbyopia in patients with mild cases they are the first drug approved in the world for this condition. Although the sale price is still somewhat high (an estimated $ 80 or € 71 for a month of treatment), it is possible that it will decrease as marketing progresses.

If you are in doubt about your near vision ability because it has worsened since you turned 40 or 50, consult an ophthalmologist. The specialist will be able to indicate the best approach for your case.

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