Myopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness, is a refractive error that often develops during childhood. Its hallmark symptom is having difficulties seeing clearly from afar, while close-range visual acuity remains sharp. While using prescription eyewear is the most common way to manage this problem, applying atropine eye drops is another proven myopia control option.
Here’s how it works:
How Myopia Happens
You may become nearsighted when your eyes are too long. This causes the light rays that enter your eyes to incorrectly fall in front of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eyes. Although experts are not sure how this anatomical irregularity happens, some studies suggest that reading, sewing and doing other close work for long hours may affect its development. This habit overuses your eyes’ accommodation skills that may result in stretching of your eyes.
How Atropine Helps Control Myopia Progression
Atropine is an anticholinergic substance, which means applying it to your eyes dilates your pupils and paralyzes the accommodation process. Your eyes won’t be able to focus for some time, preventing your eyes from stretching too much. Your eye doctor shares that this method is effective in stabilizing myopia symptoms, especially among children.
A five-year clinical study in China actually revealed atropine as a reliable myopia control option. The trial included 400 children who were randomly selected. For the length of the research, three different atropine concentrations were applied to their eyes: 0.5%, 0.1% and 0.01%. Findings reveal that kids who received low-dose atropine concentrations showed the least signs of myopia advancement. They also had minimal changes in their axial length, eyeball shape and pupil size.
Other Ways to Manage Myopia
While applying atropine eye drops seem to be a promising way to control myopia progression, your optometrist explains that in-depth research and additional trials are still needed to confirm its success rate. For now, it may be best to use other options to manage this refractive error and improve your far-range visual acuity.
Your eye care specialist may recommend wearing multifocal eyeglasses or soft contact lenses that contain various prescriptions in a single lens, helping you see things at varying distances clearly. Orthokeratology is another good option. The ortho-k lenses are engineered to reshape your cornea as you wear them during the night.
For more information about atropine eye drops as a way to manage myopia, contact a myopia control specialist in your area today.