Age-related eye problem that could be a thing of the past

Glasses could be a thing of the past for those suffering from this age-related eye condition.

Presbyopia, or age-related blurry near vision, affects more than one million Australians over the age of 55 or 27 per cent of the population.

The condition causes the natural lens of the eye to lose its flexibility, which in turn makes focusing on close objects difficult. Presbyopia is a natural part of ageing.

General symptoms include a tendency to hold reading material at arm’s length, blurred vision at normal reading distance, and fatigue, eyestrain or headache when performing close work.

In the past, the condition could only be corrected by wearing glasses, but now a new eye drop manufactured by Allergan, and sold under the brand name Vuity, has been approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat presbyopia.

Read: Common eye conditions linked to heightened risk of dementia

The eye drop was approved following the completion of two clinical trials that involved a total of 750 participants with presbyopia aged 40 to 55, split into two groups.

Participants were instructed to administer one drop of Vuity or a placebo once daily in each eye. The results of the trials showed a statistically significant proportion of participants noted improvements to their near-distance and low-light vision.

The trials recorded no serious adverse events in any participants, although around 5 per cent reported eye redness and headache.

The active ingredient in Vuity is pilocarpine, an established treatment for blurred vision issues. The chemical is delivered to the eye using Allergan’s proprietary drug delivery system known as pHAST. This allows the solution to quickly adjust to the natural pH levels of the patient’s tear fluid.

Correcting the pH levels in tear fluid triggers the eye’s natural ability to reduce pupil size, which improves vision over close or intermediate distances.

Read: Could you have dry eye syndrome?

“Most adults cope with presbyopia, or difficulty with near vision, as we age. Beginning around the age of 40, many find themselves using reading glasses, holding text further away, or even increasing the font size and lighting on screens to try to see more clearly,” says Dr Michael Severino, vice-chair and president of Allergan’s parent company AbbVie.

“We are proud to offer Vuity as a first-of-its-kind once-daily eye drop that we believe will change the way people and their eye doctors approach presbyopia,” he said.

“The FDA approval of Vuity exemplifies our continued pursuit of innovative new treatments that push the boundaries of what’s possible in eye care.”

Read: Eight good habits to improve your vision and eye health

Vuity is only approved for use in the United States. Authorities in Australia are yet to rule on the eye drops, but an Australian trademark for Vuity was lodged by Allergan in August. The trademark was approved, indicating we may be hearing more about the eye drops soon.

Do you have trouble with near-distance vision? Do you think a product like Vuity could help improve your vision? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Written by Brad Lockyer

Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.

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