27 May Myopia Control: Why I Choose Atropine Therapy for My Child
In a world where our kids are involved in plenty of near-focused activities, I completely understand the growing concern for their eye health. Days spent near the computer and reading can lead to myopia, or near-sightedness, which has the potential to lead to eye complications that are more than just a little blurry vision.
Here’s the integral question to ask yourself as a mother: How can I best support my child’s eye health, with more preventative care to fight off the progression of myopia?
How can you prevent myopia development from a young age?
As both a mother and optometrist, I’m always looking out for preventative eye care, especially when it comes to myopia, as it is increasingly growing more common in children. I’m not one to stop my child from the activities he enjoys and learns from just to prevent myopia, so being open to treatments like low-dose atropine therapy is a must.
In January 2021, I started my eight-year-old son on low dose atropine therapy, and I feel a lot more at ease knowing I’m giving him his best chance for the best eye health. I want to help more moms out there do just the same.
How does myopia progress?
Myopia is a refractive error, or in layman’s terms, a misshapen cornea where the eye is too long from the front to the back. As the eye grows longer, myopia worsens, which results in blurry vision, eye strain, eye fatigue, and even headaches. Routine eye exams are meant to keep myopia at bay, with the help of glasses or contact lenses.
Surgery can be a complete fix, but before that becomes an option, it is in you and your child’s best interest to practice more preventative care, and a treatment like low-dose atropine therapy is a sure-fire way to do so.
What is low-dose atropine therapy?
Unlike glasses or contacts, atropine therapy is a form of myopia control that encourages vision improvements by putting a stop to myopia progression. You might have heard of atropine eye drops when you get your eyes dilated at a routine eye exam. These are used to widen the pupil, but they may also be used as low-dose atropine eye drops to keep the eye from lengthening.
Atropine eye drops may be used to disable the eye’s focusing mechanism, which in turn reduces the potential for myopia development, eye fatigue, and even eye pain associated with uveitis. As it’s been used and researched for many years now, many eye doctors and mothers have seen immensely effective results in its prevention of the development of myopia.
Do atropine eye drops show to have significant effects on the prevention of myopia progression?
Many studies of atropine therapy have pointed to significant improvements from its treatment, but only with consistent, long-term use. Surprisingly enough, just .01% of atropine is enough to get your child the preventative eye care he or she needs.
- 90% of children who have atropine therapy show signs of reduced myopia progression.
- Near-sighted children experience up to 81% of reduction in myopia progression with atropine therapy.
- This effect, while not seen to increase after the first year of treatment, is actually shown to be maintained when therapy is consistently continued into later years.
- Children who used even the lowest concentrations of atropine therapy (.01%) were also able to maintain positive effects, with less return of myopia progression after one year.
When to choose low-dose atropine
It is safe for children as young as 2 years old to begin atropine therapy, but more commonly, children between 5-18 years of age can derive the most benefit. Like any therapy, atropine therapy is completely customized to your child’s needs. An experienced eye doctor can consult you on the best treatment plan for your child, and get the right dose he or she may benefit most from.
As we can’t save our children from being exposed to certain things, we can certainly set them up for the best defense, and that goes with anything. The best benefit to atropine therapy? A mother’s relief!