The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first eye drop to treat presbyopia, a form of progressive, age-related vision loss that often prompts a need for reading glasses. 

Vuity (pilocarpine HCl ophthalmic solution) 1.25% helps to adjust pupil size. It contracts the sphincter muscle of the iris, constricting the pupil and enhancing depth of focus. This improves near vision without impacting distance vision, drugmaker Allergan, an AbbVie company, announced on Saturday, Oct. 30.

By 30 days of daily use, the drug will begin to work in as little as 15 minutes and the results may last for up to 6 hours. Common side effects found in clinical trials for the drug are headache and eye redness, the company said. 

“I am particularly encouraged by the rapid onset of action and duration of efficacy for VUITY to improve near and intermediate vision without impacting distance vision with one drop daily, particularly for those with mild to moderate presbyopia,”  said George O. Waring IV, M.D., of the Waring Vision Institute, SC, who participated in the clinical trials.

The drug was tested in relatively young older adults aged 40 to 55 years old.

Presbyopia is estimated to affect nearly half the U.S. adult population starting around age 40, and happens as the eye lenses lose flexibility, making it harder to focus, AbbVie said. 

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