The adenosine antagonist 7-methylxanthine (7-mx) works against myopia in animal models. In a clinical trial, 68 myopic children (mean age 11.3 years) received either placebo or 7-mx tablets for 12 months. All participants subsequently received 7-mx for another 12 months, after which treatment was stopped. Axial length was measured with Zeiss IOL-Master and cycloplegic refraction with Nikon Retinomax at -6, 0, 12, 24, and 36 months. Axial growth was reduced among children treated with 7-mx for 24 months compared with those only treated for the last 12 months. Myopia progression and axial eye growth slowed down in periods with 7-mx treatment, but when the treatment was stopped, both myopia progression and axial eye growth continued with invariable speed. The results indicate that 7-mx reduces eye elongation and myopia progression in childhood myopia. The treatment is safe and without side effects and may be continued until 18-20 years of age when myopia progression normally stops.
Keywords: 7-methylxanthine; Adenosine receptor antagonist; Clinical trial; Myopia.