PurposeRandomized controlled trials have shown the efficacy of atropine for progressive myopia, and this treatment has become the preferred pattern for this condition in Taiwan. This study explores the effectiveness of atropine 0.5% treatment for progressive high myopia and adherence to therapy in a non-Asian country.MethodsAn effectiveness study was performed in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Overall 77 children (mean age 10.3 years±2.3), of European (n=53), Asian (n=18), and African (n=6) descent with progressive myopia were prescribed atropine 0.5% eye drops daily. Both parents and children filled in a questionnaire regarding adverse events and adherence to therapy. A standardized eye examination including cycloplegic refraction and axial length was performed at baseline and 1, 4, and 12 months after initiation of therapy.ResultsMean spherical equivalent at baseline was -6.6D (±3.3). The majority (60/77, 78%) of children adhered to atropine treatment for 12 months; 11 of the 17 children who discontinued therapy did so within 1 month after the start of therapy. The most prominent reported adverse events were photophobia (72%), followed by reading problems (38%), and headaches (22%). The progression rate of spherical equivalent before treatment (-1.0D/year±0.7) diminished substantially during treatment (-0.1D/year±0.7) compared to those who ceased therapy (-0.5D/year±0.6; P=0.03).ConclusionsDespite the relatively high occurrence of adverse events, our study shows that atropine can be an effective and sustainable treatment for progressive high myopia in Europeans.