Atropine eye drops

One eye drop of Atropine nightly can slow myopia by up to 50%

Atropine eye drops to slow myopia

The medication known as Atropine have been shown in studies to significantly slow myopia progression in children. The exact mechanism of how Atropine slows myopia is unknown, however a recent three year study has shown that using 1 drop of Atropine on each eye nightly, reduces myopia progression by up to 50%. Atropine eye drops do not correct your child’s vision, they simply reduce the worsening of myopia over time. Glasses or contact lenses will still have to be worn to accurately correct your child’s vision.

Combining Atropine with another form of myopia control

Atropine may be combined with other treatments to slow myopia. Research has shown that combining Atropine 0.01% with OrthoK is more effective than OrthoK alone. This combination is particularly useful for those children that have very quickly progressing myopia. At this stage, other myopia control treatments, like spectacles and contact lenses, have not yet been confirmed to have an additive effect.

Atropine eye drop strengths

Various concentrations of Atropine have been researched in terms of the effectiveness of myopia control. These studies conclude the stronger concentrations of Atropine are more effective at slowing myopia but come at the expense of increasing side effects. The lower concentrations of Atropine ranging from 0.01% to 0.05% have been shown to have minimal side effects while still slowing myopia progression. It has been found that low dose atropine 0.025% slows eye growth by about one-third, whilst 0.05% by about one-half.

0.025% and 0.05% strengths of atropine are only available from a speciality compounding Pharmacy that we can provide a prescription for. The lowest dose Atropine 0.01% is available from general Pharmacy with a prescription that we also provide, however this strength has the least benefit in slowing myopia progression. At the moment, research is showing the ideal balance of providing adequate myopia slowing with minimal side effects is the 0.025% and 0.05% concentrations. 

Potential side effects of Atropine eye drops

The effect of Atropine is dose dependent, meaning stronger concentrations work more effectively. However, as the concentration of Atropine increases, so do the common side effects which include light sensitivity due to enlarged pupils and blurred near vision.  

The common side effects of atropine eye drops in all of the low dose strengths, is stinging on instillation, and sensitivity reactions. Generally, blurred near vision and large dilated pupils is not likely in the low dose formulas, however any concerns that you have may be discussed with the optometrist. Atropine eye drops are typically used once nightly, and may be used for a period of 3 or more years.