Atropine drops to prevent childhood nearsightedness

Atropine eye drops are used to dilate the pupil as well as treat lazy eye in babies.

Recently, researchers in Singapore noticed that one of the side effects of atropine drops is that they stop excessive eye growth so the drops are now being looked as a possible preventive treatment for the onset of myopia (nearsightedness) in children who are at risk.

The Atropine Treatment of Myopia study is now in its third phase and researchers are looking at how low dose atropine eye drops can prevent and control the onset of myopia in children who are at a higher risk such as children who have a family history of moderate myopia. Other studies have shown that a dose as low as .01% concentration of atropine can slow the progression of myopia by as much as 60 percent and the low dose does not have the side effects of near blur and glare like the higher dose of atropine drops do.

Children in Singapore are commonly afflicted with myopia with 8 in every 10 children developing it by the time they turn 18. Developing myopia at a young age increases the likelihood of developing more serious eye complications at an older age such as glaucoma and cataracts. The current study looks to include 600 children with low myopia who are between the ages of 5 and 9 for a new round of trials.*

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