Limiting the progression of childhood myopia
Myopia is a long-term, progressive eye disease characterized by excess eye elongation, associated sight-threatening risks and blurry distance vision. The sight-threatening diseases associated with high myopia include, but are not limited to, myopic macular degeneration, retinal detachment, primary open-angle glaucoma, cataracts and staphyloma.
The use of Atropine in slowing down the progression of myopia was first reported in the 19th century. Atropine ophthalmic therapy is thought to work directly on the neurochemical cascade that signals the eye to elongate. The effectiveness of Atropine for myopia management is higher than any other form of treatment currently available, but has not been widely adopted due to the side effects. The commercially available concentration for Atropine is 1.0%. At this concentration, the medication causes blurred near vision, pupil dilation and significant light sensitivity. There are also systemic side effects at this high concentration that can, in very rare instances, cause increased heart rate, flushing of the skin, dry mouth and confusion.
Recent research has shown that Atropine at much lower concentrations is effective at reducing the rate of myopia progression with a much lower likelihood of side effects than the full concentration. However, since the concentration is reduced, the effectiveness of myopia stabilization is somewhat less effective than the higher concentration.
Your doctors at Bensenville Eye Care will tailor a plan along with you and your child to find the appropriate concentration of Atropine to help reduce the rate of progression of myopia and limit the potential side effects. Since the reduced concentration of Atropine is not commercially available, it will be formulated by a compounding pharmacy and will NOT be available at a standard pharmacy. Typical cost of the medication is about $60 for a supply that lasts about 3 months. Medication fees are out of our control and are determined by the pharmacy.