AN EYE DROPS SLOWS MYOPIA IN CHILDREN

 

Atropine eye drops to significantly slow the progression of myopia in children

This low-dose Atropine eye drops is created in laboratory, as is not currently available on the market as medicinal product, and it aims to slow down the progression of short-sightedness in children, also called Myopia.

In recent years, myopia has shown an impressive increase in UK with 1 in 3 people affected by this eye disorder and is estimated to become more and more common.

Until recently, the only treatments for myopia were glasses or lens which, in some serious conditions, could increase the risk of retinal detachment, early cataracts and glaucoma.

In 2006, a research on atropine treatment was conducted: 400 children aged between 6 to 12 years old with myopia were given a daily dose of low-dose atropine eye drops (0,01%).

In 50% of cases the myopia progression was slowed down thanks to the given eye drops at that specific low dosage. Higher atropine concentrations haven’t registered better results.

Atropine can be found in nature in some poisonous plant and is then refined and concentrated for medical use; it already has several uses in eye care, such as dilating the pupil and treating lazy eye.

As myopia occurs when the eyeball is too long, atropine works by inhibiting this eyeball elongation that eventually leads to an aggravation of this eye disease. However, the real mechanism on how this molecule works is still unknown today.

While higher atropine concentration (0,5% or 0,1%) have reported side effects such as hypersensitivity to light, pupil dilatation and risk of contracting allergic conjunctivitis, the indicated dosage in the research, 0.01%, did not recorded any side effects listed above, with the exception of a slight and pupil dilatation in few cases (less than 1 mm); therefore it guarantees an easy and safe administration.

This medicine is available only by medical prescription.

NHS (2018). Short-sightedness. NHS website. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/short-sightedness/