FDA approves eye drops that could replace reading glasses

Reading glasses – now in liquid form.

A revolutionary new eye drop approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in October is finally available for purchase. Participants in a clinical trial for Vuity say buyers can expect big things.

“It’s definitely life changing,” trial participant Toni Wright told CBS News of his experience with the drops, which work in just 15 minutes and improve vision for six to 10 hours, according to the company. Today, it’s the first-ever treatment for age-related blurry vision to gain FDA approval. It works by helping the eye naturally reduce pupil size, CBS reported.

Prior to Vuity, Wright, 54, relied heavily on her reading glasses, which she stored around her house and “would always need to have [on]” when working on a computer. Since starting the trial, she’s simply put one drop in each eye for dramatically improved eyesight – and a break from her bulky glasses.

“I was in denial because for me it was a sign of aging, you know, needing to wear glasses,” the Pennsylvania-based retail consultant told CBS. She added that it was especially convenient for her “to be able to put the drops on and be able to go.”

In addition to providing an easy alternative to reading glasses for millions of people who develop farsightedness (the medical term for which is presbyopia) as they age, the drops are also relatively affordable: a 30-day supply costs around $80. without insurance.

The treatment is unlikely to be covered by most health care plans because it is not considered “medically necessary” given the cheaper option of glasses, the doctors told CBS.

Minor side effects were noted during the three-month trial, including headaches and red eyes, according to Vuity’s statement to CBS. It may also be less effective for people aged 65 and over. Because the drops are so new, making it impossible to study the impacts of long-term use just yet, the manufacturer warns against driving in dark conditions while the treatment is in effect.

Sarah C. Figueiredo