90% of being an eye doctor is telling frustrated 40+ year olds that they can’t take an eye drop to make their near vision better. Ok so not 90%. Maybe like 84%. But either way, THAT conversation is about to change! Vuity is FDA cleared and ready to party. So let’s talk about it.
Why is Vuity Necessary?
The loss of our ability to see up close (or “presbyopia” as we call it) is a normal phenomenon that happens to everyone at some point after we turn 40. This happens when the lens, our eye’s autofocus system, is no longer able to properly function and near objects become blurry. At this point, you get sad and are prescribed reading glasses.
How Does it Work?
Long story short; it makes your pupil small, which increases your range of focus. We won’t bore you with too much geometric and physical optics homework because yikes. But the concept of depth of field is important in understanding how this drop actually works. Depth of field can also be referred to as “range of focus” and is highlighted nicely in the image below:
So how is this achieved? Aperture size. “Aperture” is the size of an opening that allows light into a camera (or, in this instance, our eye). By shrinking the aperture size, we widen our depth of field. Objects can be clear at a distance AND near. The following image highlights this concept and makes me feel like a robot.
Hooray! the mathy part is over! So basically, to see clearly up close, we need to shrink our pupil size. To shrink our pupil size… we use Vuity! But before we get too excited, we need to talk about some of the expectations and limitations with Vuity.
What Can I Expect from Vuity?
Vuity’s parent company, Allergan, performed studies that showed most patients could expect a 3 line improvement to their near vision. When we speak of “lines”, we mean the lines on an eye chart that get incrementally smaller (see following image). It’s also important to note that this improvement of 3 lines for near usually came with a 1 line decrease in distance vision. Which is a critical part of this discussion; Vuity still requires a certain compromise to vision. It’s a medication, not the fountain of youth.
You place one drop in each eye every morning and the effect lasts anywhere from 6-8 hours. Although the FDA has approved this medication for ages 18+, it tends to have it’s optimal effect for those ages 40-55 with a +2.00 reading prescription or less. But it’s important to note that how you use your eyes on a day to day basis may also play a role in how successful this drop is for you.
Like all medications, Vuity has side effects and we’ll review them briefly here. But as with any medication, it’s important to review your case with Dr. Shaver or VanAusdal before you start. First, Vuity can give you a headache, especially within the first few days of use. For many patients, this subsides after a few days. Secondly, a smaller pupil means less light entering the eye, which can cause a “dimmed vision” effect. Again, after a few days this effect seems to subside. Finally, this medication has existed in a higher concentration as a glaucoma drop and has a known – albeit rare – side effect of retinal detachment. We’ll want to make sure you aren’t already at an increased risk for retinal detachment before you start.
How Can I Try Vuity?
Vuity is a medication that must be prescribed by a doctor. To do so, we need to see you in our office to evaluate your vision, your eye health, review your particular case, and set expectations. It’s important to note that since it’s not medically necessary, a Vuity prescription is not covered by your medical or vision insurance. The exam to evaluate your vision and eye health for a Vuity prescription is $95 and depending on which pharmacy you choose, the medication itself runs about $70-$79 per month (that range may change with time so please check with YOUR pharmacy). Naturally, if you having your regular eye exam coming up soon you can just talk to us about Vuity at that time.
To schedule a Vuity exam, please call our office at 480-656-7739 and tell them you’d like to schedule an evaluation for Vuity.