Low-Concentration Atropine Eyedrops Show Promise In Curbing Myopia Development In Children: Study

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Myopia, often known as nearsightedness, causes hazy vision at intermediate and long distances. It occurs when the cornea is too curled, or the eyeball is very long. According to the American Optometric Association, about 30% of Americans are nearsighted.  

A study conducted by experts at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and published in the journal JAMA looked into the idea of using low-dose atropine eyedrops to postpone or prevent the start of myopia in infants. The Low-Concentration Atropine for Myopia Prevention (LAMP 2) Trial included 474 children aged 4 to 9 who had at least one parent who was nearsighted or farsighted.  

The participants were divided into three groups. Three groups were given atropine eye drops (0.05%), atropine eye drops (0.01%), and placebo eye drops (0.05%). The administration of eyedrops was documented in a diary kept by the participants’ relatives. The researchers regularly contacted participants for follow-up interviews over the two-year study.

Myopia was more common in the placebo group (53%) than in the 0.05% atropine group (28%), in the 0.01% atropine group (44%) than in the 0.05% atropine group (28%), and in the 0.01% atropine group (46%). When the 0.05% atropine group was compared to the placebo and 0.01% atropine groups, myopia incidence was significantly lower in the 0.05% atropine group.  

Compared to the other groups, the percentage of research participants whose nearsightedness rapidly worsened after two years was much lower in the 0.05% atropine group. These findings imply that using low-dose atropine eyedrops to treat myopia in children may assist in preventing or at least reducing its growth.  

The atropine drops had no detrimental effects on the youngsters in the study. The most common adverse outcome identified by participants in all three groups was photophobia or sensitivity to bright light. Given that the trial was only conducted at one location (the Chinese University of Hong Kong Eye Centre), more research is needed to determine the generalizability of these findings to other demographics.  

According to experts, more research is needed to confirm the study’s encouraging findings about using low-dose atropine eyedrops to treat and prevent myopia. They emphasize the importance of further research into the repercussions of discontinuing these eyedrops as well as the ideal duration of treatment. A more extended trial would be required to evaluate whether the intervention lessens the probability of myopic persons developing major eye problems such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.

This type of research takes a significant amount of time and money. The study’s findings on using low-dose atropine eye drops to prevent myopia in children are promising, offering new information regarding a potential intervention to delay the onset of myopia and reduce its prevalence. However, further research is needed to determine its long-term efficacy and safety. 

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