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Presbyopia is a common eye defect in people who are aged 40 and above. It is characterized by the inability of the eye’s lens to change its shape to allow for the bending of light rays from close by objects which enter the eyes via the pupil – this causes the light rays to be scattered on the retina, instead of being focused at its center. This condition is known to affect around 128 million people in the U.S. and more than a billion people globally.
For a person with normal eyesight, light rays from an object first hit the cornea (the transparent layer making up the outermost front part of the eye) which bends the rays initially to allow them all to enter the pupil. If the light rays are of high intensity, the pupil is constricted by the iris to avoid bleaching of the eye cells; in contrast, if the light intensity is low, the pupil dilates to allow for more rays to pass through for better vision of the object in concern. The light ray then continues towards the lens which changes its shape to bring the rays to focus at the center of the retina, forming an image that is taken to the brain for interpretation.
For one to see close objects, the eye takes three major steps to focus these objects on the retina: the eye looks toward the direction of the object, the lens changes shape, and the pupils constrict. However, for people with presbyopia, when they look at close objects, their lenses are unable to change shape to bring the light to focus on this retina (this causes the blurred vision which they often appear to see), and their pupils are unable to constrict.
Vuity: the better treatment option for presbyopia
Vuity, the new eye drop newly approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late 2021, appears to be an easier and safer way to correct this eye defect. Before its release, the use of glasses and contacts, or eye surgery, was the available treatment method for presbyopia. The high cost and risk of these existing treatment methods are what prompted the invention of these eye drops. At first, optometrists were skeptical about their use, however, after recently coming to understand how the eye drop works, they discovered that it was a better option.
Studies to understand the mechanism of action of the drops revealed that Vuity contains an active ingredient – pilocarpine – which was first discovered in the late 1800s, and known to treat eye conditions such as ocular hypertension and glaucoma. The drop works to make up for the inability of the lens to change shape by triggering the pupil to get smaller, reducing the light rays from close objects. This allows the rays to be better focused onto the retina, thus, creating a wider range of distances where objects are in focus and allowing for a clearer vision of both near and far objects.
This action of the eye drops takes place about 15 minutes after applying it, and its effect on the pupil lasts for about six hours. More research is still ongoing to produce more eye drops that include non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs to help constrict the pupil as Vuity does.
People who have presbyopia can now be treated easily and more effectively using the Vuity eye drop. The use of this eye drop would save time for both doctor and patient, reduce costs, and lessen risks involved with eye surgeries.
This discovery gives hope to many aged people who have this eye defect, as it reveals a less expensive, easier, and safer way to treat presbyopia. The availability of Vuity is a strong hope of clear eyesight for people who have passed the youthful age.