Pharmaceutical intervention for myopia control

Expert Rev Ophthalmol. 2010 Dec 1;5(6):759-787. doi: 10.1586/eop.10.67.


Myopia is the result of a mismatch between the optical power and the length of the eye, with the latter being too long. Driving the research in this field is the need to develop myopia treatments that can limit axial elongation. When axial elongation is excessive, as in high myopia, there is an increased risk of visual impairment and blindness due to ensuing pathologies such as retinal detachments. This article covers both clinical studies involving myopic children, and studies involving animal models for myopia. Atropine, a nonselective muscarinic antagonist, has been studied most extensively in both contexts. Because it remains the only drug used in a clinical setting, it is a major focus of the first part of this article, which also covers the many shortcomings of topical ophthalmic atropine. The second part of this article focuses on in vitro and animal-based drug studies, which encompass a range of drug targets including the retina, retinal pigment epithelium and sclera. While the latter studies have contributed to a better understanding of how eye growth is regulated, no new antimyopia drug treatments have reached the clinical setting. Less conservative approaches in research, and in particular, the exploration of new bioengineering approaches for drug delivery, are needed to advance this field.