Atropine is a so-called belladonna alkaloid and has been used for centuries for pupil dilation. In the Middle Ages, it was used to make people look more attractive (“Belladonna”). In ophthalmology, 1-percent atropine has been used for more than 100 years in certain eye exams.
In 0.5% and 1% doses, atropine eye drops are used as a drug approved by the Swiss Medicines Agency for pupil dilation.
What is new, however, is the use of atropine for a different purpose, namely to slow down myopia. Such use is called “off-label”, meaning that the drug’s use for this purpose has not yet been approved by the Swiss Medicines Agency and there is no obligation to pay the health insurance companies.
Studies on children and adolescents in Asia have shown that the development of myopia can be slowed down by the use of highly diluted atropine 0.01% eye drops. The mechanism of action of atropine to slow down eye length growth is not fully understood.
The drops are dripped once a day (in the evening) and, depending on the course, are usually used over a period of several years. Regular appointments for follow-up examinations must be performed during the application.
At the beginning of the consultation, a detailed ophthalmological examination is carried out, in which we examine the eye thoroughly and, among other things, measure the total length of the eye using ray tracing technology. After consultation with the pediatrician then the therapy with atropine eye drops is initiated.
Your child will be cared for throughout the duration of the treatment. In most cases, such a therapy continues until the natural growth of the child slows down so much that a further progression of myopia is unlikely.
Atropine or special contact lenses ? Both systems provide similar results in slowing of myopia. Which one we will use depends on the individual circumstances of your child.