Retarding Progression of Myopia with Seasonal Modification of Topical Atropine

Paul CS Lu, Jackie CL Chen


PURPOSE: To investigate whether seasonal modification in the concentration of atropine drops is effective in retarding the progression of myopia. METHODS: Two hundred and forty eyes of 120 healthy preschool- and school-age children in Chiayi region, Taiwan were recruited. The treatment group consisted of 126 eyes of 63 children who received atropine eye drops daily for one year and the control group included 114 eyes of 57 children who received nothing. The concentration of atropine eye drops was modified by seasonal variation as follows: 0.1% for summer, 0.25% for spring and fall, and 0.5% for winter. Refractive error, visual acuity, intraocular pressure (IOP), and axial length were evaluated before and after intervention. RESULTS: Mean age was 9.1±2.8 years in the atropine group versus 9.3±2.8 years in controls (P=0.88). Mean spherical equivalent, refractive error and astigmatism were -1.90±1.66 diopters (D) and -0.50±0.59 D in the atropine group; corresponding values in the control group were -2.09±1.67 D (P=0.97) and -0.55±0.60 D (P=0.85), respectively. After one year, mean progression of myopia was 0.28±0.75 D in the atropine group vs 1.23±0.44 D in controls (P < 0.001). Myopic progression was significantly correlated with an increase in axial length in both atropine (r=0.297, P=0.001) and control (r=0.348, P < 0.001) groups. No correlation was observed between myopic progression and IOP in either study group. CONCLUSION: Modifying the concentration of atropine drops based on seasonal variation, seems to be effective and tolerable for retarding myopic progression in preschool- to school-age children. 

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