Can Eye Drops Replace Reading Glasses?

Presbyopia is an eye condition that is common among aging adults. It is reported that more than one-third of Americans have presbyopia. People find it burdensome to use glasses or contact lenses because they are easily lost. Nonsurgical treatment for presbyopia has already been introduced which is in a form of topical eye drops.

The clear lens of the eye stiffens overtime when presbyopia occurs which makes it hard to focus on words. There are two types of eye drops that have a unique mechanism. Miotic drops can make the pupil contract and limit the out-of-focus information. Lens-softening drops help in restoring the flexibility of the lens. The eye loses its flexibility when presbyopia occurs. The two drops are undergoing clinical trials for their safety and effectiveness in humans.

Miotic drops can change pupil size by creating a pinhole effect. It is like an original film camera that can maximize near and far focus. Three companies develop miotic drop including Allergan, Presbyopia Therapies, and Orasis Pharmaceuticals. Allergan is currently in the phase 3 of FDA trials while Presbyopia Therapies and Orasis Pharmaceuticals completed phase 2b trials recently.

Lens-softening drops can soften the eye even if it is aging. The lens will regain its flexibility which can help in having a better focus on near objects. Lens-softening drops cannot restore near vision completely but it can help in improving the condition of the eye. Novartis is the first one to develop lens-softening drops. The drop works well for people who are in the early stages of presbyopia and without cataracts.

Do Eye Drops Work as Well as Glasses Do?

can eye drops replace reading glasses

There have been recent studies where the effectivity of miotic drop lasts for about four to seven hours. The drops must be reapplied if the corrective effect wears off. People who take the drop can experience headaches, limited night vision, or trouble in distinguishing an object.

Some patients use a combination of miotic and lens-softening drops to maximize vision. Make sure to have a comprehensive eye exam to know about your eye health.

Will Eye Drops for Presbyopia Be Included In Insurance?

can eye drops replace reading glasses

If eye drops are available in the market, they will not be covered by the insurance. For patients who need bifocals or multifocals, they may prefer drops instead as they are the least expensive treatment for presbyopia. Some people prefer eye surgery to correct presbyopia but it costs thousands of dollars. Intraocular lens implantation, corneal inlays, and laser refractive surgery (LASIK) are surgeries for presbyopia correction.

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