Recent study results imply that “atropine acts in the inner layers of the peripheral retina to affect neuronal responses to myopic defocus, raising the possibility that atropine may potentiate the effects of myopic defocus in inhibiting eye growth.”
Atropine eye drops will cause significant visual side effect when used in full dose and even some low dose preparations. In higher doses atropine will cause pupils to stay dilated (larger than average), this will let more light into the eye making children more sensitive to bright light. In addition, it will also make near focusing more difficult. Multifocal glasses that darken when outdoors are used by children who experience these side-effects.
Full Dose Atropine
1% significant visual side effects
Low Dose Atropine
.5% significant visual side effects
.05% slight visual side effects
.02% nearly no visual side effects
.01% nearly no visual side effects
Atropine eye drops may or may not be the first choice for treating children with myopia progression. However, there are many considerations a Myopia Control doctor takes into account when deciding on the best treatment for a patient.
Atropine eye drops can be used alone, or added to other forms of myopia management to enhance the overall effects. Myopia progression may still occur in some children, and if rapid, they may then need to be prescribed a higher dose of atropine or added orthokeratology or myopia management contact lenses to their treatment. Unfortunately, in 10% of children, myopia may continue to progress rapidly even with the higher-dose atropine.