How can regular eye drops help reduce myopia in children?

A recent discovery suggests eye drops may help reduce myopia in children. Subscribe to notifications

Today, children are already wearing glasses as young as 5 years old. Sometimes it can be due to a disease or genetic predisposition, sometimes it can be due to excessive eye strain. Today’s children are well acquainted with how devices work and are constantly interested. This has become an increasing problem in young children with farsightedness or nearsightedness. However, according to a recent study, there is a possibility that a breakthrough has been made.



According to recent clinical research, the first drug therapy to reduce the incidence of myopia in children may be on the horizon. The three-year study found that a daily drop of a low dose of atropine, a drug used to dilate the pupils, in each eye was better than placebo at limiting changes in eyeglass prescription and lengthening of the eye in myopic children ages 6 to 10 years to prevent .

Eye drops can reduce the risk of myopia

This lengthening leads to myopia, or nearsightedness, which begins in young children and continues to worsen through teenage years before resolving in most people. Not only does myopia require lifelong vision correction, it also increases the risk of retinal detachment, macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma later in life — and most corrective lenses do nothing to stop the progression of myopia.

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“The idea of ​​making the eyeballs smaller is not only to make people’s eyeglasses thinner, but also to keep them from developing visual impairment in their 70s,” said lead study author Karla Zadnik, professor and dean of the College of Optometry at Ohio State University.

“This is exciting work for the myopia research community, which I have been part of for 35 years. We’ve talked about treatment and control for decades,” she said. “And it’s exciting to think that in the future there could be options for millions of children who we know will be short-sighted.”

Results from the Childhood Atropine for Myopia Progression (CHAMP) study are published today (June 1, 2023) in JAMA Ophthalmology.

What the study says About one in three adults worldwide is myopic, and the global prevalence of myopia is expected to increase to 50% by 2050. Although a government-approved contact lens can slow the progression of myopia, no pharmaceutical products are approved in the United States or Europe to treat myopia. In this new double-blind, randomized phase 3 study, the safety and efficacy of two low-dose solutions were evaluated. The inclusion of an eye growth measurement was a key component of the study because “the field is actually moving towards axial strain being as important or even more important than eyeglass prescription for the most meaningful result,” she said. “When we’re trying to slow eye growth to prevent bad outcomes for people over 80, measuring eye growth directly is really important.”

“The 0.01 percent story is clearer and more obvious as it both significantly slows the growth of the eye and results in lower eyeglass prescription,” Zadnik said.

The safety of the drugs was assessed in a larger sample of 573 participants, which included children aged 3 to 16 years. Both low-dose formulations were safe and well tolerated. The most common side effects were photosensitivity, allergic conjunctivitis, eye irritation, dilated pupils and blurred vision, although there have been few reports of these side effects.

The CHAMP study was the first low-dose atropine study to include placebo controls for three years and enrolled in a large, diverse population recruited from 26 clinical sites in North America and five countries in Europe. In a second part of the study, researchers are examining how the eyes react after the treatment is completed.

(With ANI inputs)

Release Date: June 3, 2023 2:11 PM IST

Date updated: June 3, 2023 2:11 PM IST

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