A five-year study of up to 800 children has shown that a low concentration of atropine eye drops can significantly reduce myopia.
SINGAPORE: A five-year study of up to 800 children shows that atropine eye drops of a lower concentration significantly reduce myopia.
The study shows that atropine eye drops of 0.01 percent were more effective than those of one per cent.
Nikhil Angappan was diagnosed with myopia when he was 10 years old, no thanks to bad reading habits like reading in the dark.
In 2006, he took part in the first phase of the myopia study where he was given the atropine eye drops at a concentration of 0.5 per cent over a two-year period.
“I started doing the atropine eye drops under the 0.5 concentration which resulted in me having certain amounts of glare on the field and it was kind of inconvenient. The glare was slightly addressed when I used photo sensitive glasses,” said Nikhil.
Later in 2009, he moved on to the second phase where he received the eye drops at a concentration of 0.01 per cent.
This stabilised his myopia and prevented further worsening of his eyesight.
After the treatment, his eyesight stabilised to 200 degrees in both eyes which could have otherwise shot up to 600 degrees in both eyes.
Professor Donald Tan, medical director at Singapore National Eye Centre, said: “The lowest dose of 0.01 per cent almost had no side effects. There is minimal dilation of the pupil and almost no effect on the near vision ability for the children. All of them can see very well. There were no safety issues at all.”
He added: “At this ultra-low dose, there were no side effects but we were still getting a significant effect on controlling myopia. It turns out that 0.01 per cent can reduce myopia progression by about 50-60 per cent which is actually huge.”
Professor Tan said the Singapore National Eye Centre is now awaiting approval by the Health Sciences Authority to allow the atropine eye drops at a concentration of 0.01 per cent to be made available in public hospitals.
He hopes that this will happen in three to six months.