Atropine for Myopia Control
Our last, and arguably most effective, method of myopia management is Atropine. Atropine is a pharmaceutical drop traditionally used for dilation. Extensive research has found that administering VERY diluted concentrations of this drop can drastically slow, and in some cases stop, myopia progression. The very small concentration used does not typically prompt the adverse effects you are used to when you think of dilation, such as, very large pupils, blurred near vision, and light sensitivity. However, we look for these factors very closely when prescribing atropine for myopia management. In the off chance these side effects are encountered, appropriate measures can easily be taken to counteract the effects.
When used for myopia management, one drop of atropine is instilled in each eye before bed. This method of control can also be administered in addition to the previously discussed control methods. If not combined with another method, some form of vision correction must be prescribed for daily use, as atropine does not correct vision…it only SLOWS progression.
Soft multifocal lenses and orthokeratology are both extremely effective myopia management efforts. At our practice, we typically reserve atropine use for HIGH RISK /“fast progressors” or when other control methods are not accomplishing enough reduction. In these cases, atropine is used either alone or in combination with another control method.
Each patient’s case is analyzed on an individual basis and the best treatment method(s) are selected based on several factors, including but not limited to: age of onset, current prescription, rate of progression, and risk factors.
REMEMBER, the earlier we start to slow progression, the less nearsighted your child will become!
-Aamena Kazmi, OD, Diplomate ABO