MYOPIA MANAGEMENT OPTIONS
ATROPINE EYE DROPS
What is Atropine Therapy
Atropine Therapy is the use of daily eye drops. Atropine eye drops have many uses in eye care and have been used for the treatment of childhood myopia. Recent research has shown that weak Atropine is particularly safe and effective in slowing the progression of myopia, with minimal side effects.
Atropine is used in eye care to cause pupil dilation (increased size) and cycloplegia (reduced near focus). The drops we are prescribing are low-dose Atropine. The drops have shown to be effective and the most useful due to minimal effect on near focus, light sensitivity or allergic response.
How does it work?
Diagram: Atropine treatment for 0.01% and 0.5% doses The diagram below demonstrates the effective reduction in myopic progression with the use of low dose Atropine
What to expect
Your optometrist will let you know if Atropine eye drops are a suitable choice for your child. They will also run through with you some of the unlikely side effects that atropine can cause. While the dose we are prescribing is a very low dose there is still a chance that your child may experience some reaction to the drops.
Please be aware that in the unlikely event your child experiences blurred near vision, this may be remedied with multi-focal glasses; if they experience light sensitivity sunglasses will help; or you may choose to use a different form of myopia control treatment.
While there has been no reported systemic side effects of the 0.01% concentration there is always a risk of allergy, skin flushing, constipation and tachycardia (faster heart rate). If any unusual symptoms occur, immediately cease using the drops, let your optometrist know and visit your doctor.
How do I use them?
One drop is used in both eyes, every night, before bed. After putting the drops in, ask your child to keep their eyes closed for 1-2 minutes to reduce the amount of drop that is “blinked away”.
Your optometrist will schedule follow up appointments every three months for the first year to review both the effect of treatment and the stability of the myopia.
Drops should be used for one to two years, and possibly longer until stability is demonstrated, with around three reviews initially. Most research confirms the drops were used safely over a period of two to five years.
What happens if I stop using the Atropine drops? Myopia may progress again, but it is likely to be less than if the treatment was not initiated. While there is some evidence that higher doses of Atropine may have a rebound effect, there is no evidence of this occurring with low dose Atropine.
Ask about Atropine Therapy at your next appointment.
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