Vuity eye drops temporarily eliminate the need for reading glasses

Vuity drops use visual trick to ‘cheat’ aging eye changes

As we age the lenses of our eyes naturally become less flexible. That makes it harder to focus on things up close, which is why most people over 50 will need reading glasses.

This is medically known as presbyopia and it’s inevitable. Niki Bressman, 44, said it was May of 2022 when she realized she needed reading glasses.

“Without them it was very difficult to do my job, to do simple tasks like reading, looking at tags at the grocery store, anything like that became very difficult,” she said.

Like many of us, she had a stash of reading glasses everywhere so she wouldn’t lose them. But partially because of the mask-wearing from COVID, constantly fogging up the glasses, and the fact that she had never worn glasses before, she wanted another solution.

Fortunately, Dr. Kevin Everett an ophthalmologist, and the director of refractive surgery at Henry Ford Health had a solution for her, eyedrops called Vuity.

Vuity eyedrops contain the medication pilocarpine. It’s been used in the past to treat glaucoma. We now have other treatments for glaucoma, but pilocarpine has found a new life to help with presbyopia. Pilocarpine constricts your pupil, and that increases your depth of focus, making it easier for your less flexible lens to focus on things close to your face.

Bressman started using Vuity drops, one in each eye, in June of 2022 and noticed immediate improvement.

“I was amazed at my reading afterward, before then the font on my phone was very large and I played around with it and got to the smallest font possible and could read it no problem.”

Everett said the drops work within 15 minutes, but the effect wears off after four to six hours. Bressman uses her drops strategically.

“At the beginning of the morning my eyes aren’t so tired so I can get through a couple of hours of not needing anything, and then maybe around 9 or 10 o’clock I’ll put them in. It lasts me the work day. I can get home and then at home I don’t mind so much if I have to put my readers in,” Bressman said.

According to Everett, the drops are very well tolerated. Some people experience a slight burning when they first put them in. A headache can also occur with their use but it’s usually mild.

Bressman said she, “had a little bit of a headache for a couple of hours after trying them.”

But after two days of use, she hasn’t had any more headaches. Another effect of the drops, because they make your pupils smaller, the amount of light entering your eyes is decreased -- meaning night driving and vision in a dark room might be reduced.

One important caution from Everett is that you should have a thorough dilated eye exam to be sure you are not at risk for a retinal detachment. Although rare, this can occur and be quite serious.

Vuity drops are prescription only and they can be used even if you wear contacts. They are not covered by insurance and cost roughly $80 a bottle. Depending on how often you use the drops, a bottle can last 1 to 2 months.

About the Author:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.