Background: Myopia is a condition of enormous public health concern, affecting up to 2.5 billion people worldwide. The most effective treatment to prevent myopia progression is atropine but at the cost of accommodative paresis and mydriasis, necessitating the use of bifocal glasses. Low-dose atropine (0.01%) has been found to be almost as effective with significantly reduced side effects. Since there are well-recognised differences in the effect of atropine between heavily pigmented Asian eyes and Caucasian eyes, this study aimed to determine the acceptability and tolerability of 0.01% atropine (by measuring visual performance and quality of life) as a treatment for myopia control in a Caucasian population exhibiting light irides.
Methods: 14 university students aged 18-27 were recruited to the study. Participants received one drop of 0.01% atropine daily into each eye over 5 days. A range of physiological, functional and quality of life measures were assessed at baseline, day 3 and day 5.
Results: The effect of atropine was statistically significant for pupil size (p=0.04) and responsiveness (p<0.01). While amplitude of accommodation reduced, the change was not statistically significant. Visual acuity (distance and near) and reading speed were not adversely affected. While there was a slight increase in symptoms such as glare, overall there was no quality of life impact associated with the use of low-dose atropine.
Conclusions: Overall, 0.01% of atropine was generally well tolerated bilaterally and no serious adverse effects were observed. Therefore this dose appears to provide a viable therapeutic option for myopia control among Caucasian eyes.
Keywords: Child health (paediatrics); Ciliary body; Pharmacology; Physiology; Public health.
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