Atropine in ameliorating the progression of myopia in children with mild to moderate myopia: a meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials

J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Aug;27(4):361-8. doi: 10.1089/jop.2011.0017. Epub 2011 Jun 7.


Objectives: Myopia is the most common ocular disorder associated with increasing risk for chorioretinal degeneration, retinal detachment, and other vision-threatening abnormalities worldwide. Recently, atropine has been becoming a focus of attention due to its role in ameliorating the myopia progression in children. This meta-analysis was conducted to address the efficacy and safety of atropine on myopia in children and the dose-response relationship between atropine and annual rate of myopia progression.

Methods: Controlled clinical trials were retrospectively analyzed to compare atropine and placebo for the treatment of myopia. The primary outcome measure was annual rate of myopia progression after daily atropine application over 1 year. Data were extracted from 6 randomized clinical trials and analyzed using standard meta-analysis and meta-regression methods.

Results: Comparing with placebo, the effect size of atropine for retarding myopia progression was 0.773 diopters (D)/year [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.699-0.848]. Regression model, -0.728+1.281log (dose+1), revealed the dose-response relationship between atropine and myopia progression. The estimate of effect for 0.05%, 0.1%, and 0.25% atropine was -0.665 (95% CI: -1.070 to -0.260), -0.606 (95% CI: -0.967 to -0.245), and -0.442 (95% CI: -0.701 to -0.183) D/year respectively, whereas that for 0.5% and 1% was -0.208 (95% CI: -0.435-0.018) and 0.160 (95% CI: -0.293-0.613), respectively, suggesting that myopia might deteriorate at low dose of atropine but not at 0.5% atropine and 1% atropine within the duration of 6-24 months. No serious adverse event was reported during the period of treatment. The major adverse reactions associated with 0.5% and 1% atropine were photophobia, glare, and recurrent allergic blepharitis. Photochromatic lenses or sunglasses with ultraviolet protection could be used to minimize the glare and photophobia.

Conclusion: In summary, 0.5% and 1% atropine was demonstrated to be effective and safe to ameliorate myopia progression in childhood with low-to-moderate myopia.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Atropine / administration & dosage
  • Atropine / adverse effects
  • Atropine / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Disease Progression
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mydriatics / administration & dosage
  • Mydriatics / adverse effects
  • Mydriatics / therapeutic use*
  • Myopia / drug therapy*
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Mydriatics
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Atropine