Studies show that Atropine strengthens the scleral (wall of the eye ball), thus reducing eye elongation (which results in myopia).
An atropine 1% eye drop relaxes the internal eye muscles, but it comes with side effects e.g. glare and inability to read due to dilated pupils. This would cause the person to need tinted lenses e.g. sunglasses, transition lenses, as well as a pair of reading glasses/ progressives. This is usually easily adapted by children.
Recent studies by Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) found that with a lower concentration of atropine, myopia control is as good, but with fewer to no side effects. Studies have shown that myopia progression in eyes treated with Atropine 0.01% was reduced by 50%.
Our clinic uses preservative-free single dose atropine 0.01%. It is non-toxic to the eye and this is important as the children will be using the eye drops every night. Each vial is thrown away after one use hence the risk of infection is eliminated.
Who is a candidate?
Atropine eye drops are suitable for children with myopia of all degrees, with increment of more than 50 degrees a year. Children 6-12 years old may benefit from early atropine eye drops treatment.
What does the procedure involve?
An appointment has to be made to check the health of the eye before any treatment can be administered. Cycloplegic refraction must be done to determine the child’s correct prescription, and the axial length of the eyeball is to be determined by a scan. This is to chart the axial elongation of the eyeball throughout the treatment.
Is Atropine comfortable?
There is a mild transient stinging which goes away. Using a 0.01% atropine eye drop every night for at least 1 year, a total of 5 visits for the first year, we aim to reduce the progression of your child’s myopia, not treat or cure myopia. With Atropine 0.01%, there is no sensitivity to light or reading problems.
Does my child still need to wear glasses after he starts Atropine eye drops?
Yes, Atropine eye drops helps to control the progression of myopia but it does not reshape the cornea like the Orthokeratology contact lenses hence your child will still need to wear glasses even if he is still on the eye drops.
Atropine or Ortho-k?
Every child has different needs and lifestyle. Here at The EyeClinic, we offer both Atropine and Ortho-k, allowing for unbiased discussion on which is better suited for your child.
To learn about how Orthokeratology contact lenses work to control myopia, click here.