With a new FDA-approved treatment, it’s a good time to address this increasing population
Presbyopia is on the rise. This age-related condition that affects nearly 85% of people aged 40 years or older is so common and so underserved that every eye care practitioner (ECP) in the U.S. would have to add over 600 patients to see them all, according to the American Optometric Association’s Workforce Study. U.S. Census Bureau figures estimate that the current presbyopic population is growing at 10 times that of the pre-presbyopic population.
That’s a lot of people wearing readers — and yet of the 128 million Americans between the ages of 40 and 70 wearing vision correction, a huge percentage of those wearing reading glasses are frustrated with them and may be unaware that there are other options available.
With the FDA approval of a new therapeutic for presbyopia, it’s time to revisit how Rendia can help your practice succeed in this enormous market.
Understanding the presbyopic patient leads to better success
While many people know that reading glasses are a common solution for improving near vision that deteriorates as we age, they may have not seen an ECP since readers don’t require a prescription. It’s important to educate patients about the health benefits of regular eye exams.
We know the presbyopic population has a higher income and education level than previous generations, plans to work significantly longer and desires near vision without compromising distance vision. The typical patient’s frustration surrounds how presbyopia interferes with everyday activities such as texting, shopping and reading a menu. Comments in surveys state that reading glasses are inconvenient, embarrassing and make them feel old. Perhaps we can use these motivators to better help our presbyopia patients.
Readers are not the only option
ECPs have the opportunity to raise awareness about presbyopia and introduce patients to new treatment options including spectacles, contact lenses, surgical procedures (multifocal, blended vision or extended depths of focus IOLs) and now a topical agent.
Working these topics into regular patient eye exams helps reinforce that magnification is not the same as accommodation. Patients may not understand that even new treatment options, while helpful, do not restore natural accommodation.
New approval: Vuity eye drops
In November 2021, Vuity became the first eye drop for the correction of presbyopia to be approved by the FDA. The drop contains 1.25% pilocarpine in a vehicle that allows the pH to rise quickly once on the eye. Although some burning, headaches and dimming of vision are reported, the pH neutralizing helps diminish the stinging. Patients typically hit peak near vision around one hour after drop instillation, and the effects last from two to six more hours with less reading vision and more intermediate vision as time passes. Pupil size is critical; reducing pupils by 40-50% seems to provide the most depth-of-focus benefits.
Using Rendia to educate patients on presbyopia
In Rendia, simply type “presbyopia” into the search bar and you will find videos to load onto your website, email to patients and play in the waiting room, along with simulation tools to show the development of presbyopia. The 90-second overview of presbyopia is extremely valuable. I’d recommend playing this in the reception area, as well as the 5 signs of aging animation.
The accommodation animation explains the theory of accommodation in a very patient-friendly and effective manner. This is also a great opportunity to go into Exam Mode, click the refractive surgery (presbyopia) and corrective lens (presbyopia) treatment images to draw out what is occurring. That quickly helps the patient understand the condition and treatment options.
Finally, remember that Vuity may simply be the entry point for many corrective options ranging from EDOF and trifocal IOLs, to contact lenses and spectacles. And Rendia offers terrific tools to explain each one of them in ways patients can quickly comprehend.
The views expressed above are of Dr. Karpecki and do not necessarily reflect those of Rendia.
Read one more? Patients Don’t Understand Presbyopia, or Correction Options