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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 67  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 461-463

Consensus statement and guidelines for use of dilute atropine sulphate in myopia control

1 Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, JNR Children Eye Care and Squint Clinic, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission29-Aug-2018
Date of Acceptance05-Jan-2019
Date of Web Publication22-Mar-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Siddharth S Kesarwani
JNR Eye Clinic, Shop No 5, Dama Vila Society, Kalpana Chwla Chowk, Haridas Nagar, Borivali West, Mumbai - 400 092, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_1457_18

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Purpose: To develop a consensus statement for use of dilute atropine in control of myopia progression in children based on review of existing literature, opinions and suggestions of the members of the Group of Paediatric Ophthalmologist and Strabismologists, Mumbai (GPOS). Methods: Literature review, group discussions, questionnaire study and consensus building by supermajority voting. Results: About 65% of paediatric ophthalmologists in Mumbai have started prescribing atropine sulphate 0.01% as routine in their patients showing myopia progression. Majority of the respondents who have used it for >1 year in their patient population are extremely happy with the results. About 47% respondents expressed concerns regarding some yet unknown side effects of long-term use in our patient population. Majority of the respondents agree that it is safe and have rarely encountered side effects with its use. Conclusion: Atropine sulphate 0.01% is a safe and effective treatment for myopia control. Most trained paediatric ophthalmologists recommend its use in children with progressive simple myopia.

Keywords: Atropine sulphate, atropine therapy, myopia control, myopia progression

How to cite this article:
Kesarwani SS, Mumbai Group of Paediatric Ophthalmologists and Strabismologists. Consensus statement and guidelines for use of dilute atropine sulphate in myopia control. Indian J Ophthalmol 2019;67:461-3

How to cite this URL:
Kesarwani SS, Mumbai Group of Paediatric Ophthalmologists and Strabismologists. Consensus statement and guidelines for use of dilute atropine sulphate in myopia control. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2019 [cited 2023 Sep 27];67:461-3. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/ijo/pages/default.aspx/text.asp?2019/67/4/461/254711

Atropine has been tried for myopia control in children since many decades. ATOM1[1] study generated renewed interest in its use. One of the barriers in its use was the side effect profile of atropine. ATOM 2[2] showed that even 0.01% atropine has a clinically significant effect on myopia progression without the side effects of blurred near vision and photophobia that are associated with higher concentrations. Subsequently, the 5-year results were also encouraging.[3] Now atropine sulphate 0.01% is commercially available in India and has received wide interest among ophthalmologists. The safety and efficacy data from Indian eyes is now available.[4]

The Group of Paediatric Ophthalmologists and Strabismologists (GPOS), Mumbai is a group of 38 fellowship-trained paediatric ophthalmologists practicing in and around Mumbai. This group has four meetings in a year and deliberates on issues related to paediatric eye care.

The GPOS decided to build a consensus statement and guidelines for use of atropine in myopia control to answer frequently asked questions.

  Methods Top

Scope of consensus statement

  1. Use of atropine as a therapy of choice in control of myopia progression
  2. Inclusion and exclusion criteria for therapy
  3. Dose and duration of therapy
  4. Discontinuation of therapy.

Expert panel

The GPOS, Mumbai comprising of 38 fellowship-trained paediatric ophthalmologists in practice. Over two meetings and several presentations by members of the GPOS the literature pertaining to atropine use in myopia control was reviewed. A group discussion (GD) followed in which 26 members participated. From the issues discussed in the GD, a questionnaire consisting of 30 questions was designed. This questionnaire explored the current understanding, practice patterns and experience of the participants regarding the use of atropine for myopia control. The questionnaire was circulated among the members of the GPOS via e-mail. People were asked to refrain from answering the questionnaire if they had not yet started using atropine in their practice or had only been using it for <3 months. Eighteen members responded to the questionnaire. The response of one member was not considered, since the member had been using it for <3 months. Hence, only 17 responses were considered for the next step. The results were tabulated and analysed [Annexure 1].[Additional file 1] The results were used to draft a consensus statement and practice guidelines for atropine use. The draft was debated in the next meeting of the GPOS and the consensus statement and guidelines was approved by voting. A supermajority of at least 80% participants was needed to approve a consensus. Each point debated and was put to vote. A show of hands decided if consensus was reached. Twenty members participated in the voting. A consensus was reached if at least 16 members agreed with it.

  Results Top

Almost all respondent paediatric ophthalmologists in the city of Mumbai have started using atropine for myopia control in their patient population. All of them use 0.01% atropine as the starting dose.

Close to 65% respondents have started offering it as a myopia control therapy in almost all their patients with myopia progression. The remaining is more selective. About 65% respondents recommend its use in patients of 5–6 years and older. About 88% respondents recommend its use in patients as old as 12–14 years of age.

The cut off for progression used for starting therapy varied widely from 0.5–1D per year. Respondents also reported flexibility in threshold selection based on the circumstances of a particular patient.

There is no consensus on duration of therapy. However 50% respondents like to continue it for at least 2 years or till the time child is 16 years of age, whichever is earlier. Most of the respondents have some sort of target myopia in their mind before starting therapy.

Majority of respondents call their patients after 6–8 weeks to look for compliance and tolerance. Some call them after 12 weeks. Almost 25% see them straight after 6 months. About 60% of the respondents see their patients 6 monthly, while 40% see them quarterly for the duration of the therapy. Majority of doctors (70%) in the study use implied consent. But a significant minority (25%) believed in taking written consent from the patient. Majority of doctors reported good or excellent compliance of the patients on therapy perhaps reflecting the importance that society lays on myopia control and the close involvement of care takers. There is no consensus on classifying a patient as non-responder and cut offs vary widely from 0.5D in 6 months to 1D in a year.

Extremely fragmented responses were observed in the context of approach to patients who are non-responders. Majority (80%) feel that a cycloplegic refraction is must in every visit when child is on atropine therapy. About 75% feel that axial length should be included in work up to document progression.

Majority of the respondents have not reached a conclusion regarding efficacy of this treatment, while 25% are extremely happy. Sub-group analysis of doctors who have been using it for more than a year in majority of their patients showed that almost all of them were extremely happy with the outcomes.

Almost 50% feel that current literature is enough to make atropine the standard of care while 15% feel more data are needed. Many are yet undecided. About 70% doctors feel counselling for atropine increases chair time significantly.

In spite of the enthusiasm, 47% doctors caution that there may be some yet unknown adverse effects of atropine in the long-term use. Surprisingly, in spite of its still an off label use of atropine, majority of the doctors have little or no hesitation in advising it to their patients. More than 50% doctors limit its use in simple myopia only. About 30% feel that it may have a role in other types of myopia.

Opinion is split right down the middle when it comes to the question of using different concentrations for different rates of progression. However, 80% feel there may be a case for starting with higher concentrations and then moving on to lower concentration.

About 60% respondents feel there is no need for tapering before stopping it while 35% have the opposite view. An overwhelming majority feels that it is very well tolerated and that they have rarely encountered allergy, photophobia or reading difficulties in their patients needing discontinuation of the drug.

  Consensus Statement Top

Based on GD, questionnaire survey of members and review of literature the GPOS, Mumbai have reached a consensus that atropine sulphate 0.01% should be offered to children showing progression of simple myopia. The group feels that it is a safe intervention and have rarely encountered any side effects during its use. Although the group cautions regarding it still being an off label use and potential, yet unknown late side effects.

  Guidelines Top

  1. Children between ages 5 to 14 years may be routinely offered treatment. There is no contraindication for offering it at ages <5 years and >14 years and the same may be done at the discretion of the treating physician.
  2. Any subject who is progressing by more than 0.5D per year or more may be offered myopia control. Lower cut offs may be justified in children with strong family history of myopia progression especially with early onset. While higher cut offs may be used for children in whom myopia had a late onset. Some sort of target refraction should be kept in mind.
  3. The group recommends counselling of caregivers before starting therapy.
  4. The group recommends that written inform consent be taken before starting therapy till the time the treatment gets wide acceptance as a standard of care.
  5. A baseline cycloplegic refraction and axial length measurements should be noted before starting therapy.
  6. It is also necessary to do periodic follow ups during the course of therapy. The first follow up after starting therapy is recommended at 8–12 weeks. This is primarily to judge tolerance and look for any side effects. Further follow ups may be 6 monthly with cycloplegic refraction at every visit. There is no consensus on axial length measurement for documentation of progression.
  7. In patients who are responding, i.e. not progressing while on therapy, the members of the group feel that the therapy is continued for 2 years or till the child reaches the age of 16 years, whichever is earlier before a trial of withdrawal under continued surveillance. There is no need to taper before withdrawal.
  8. All members recommend use of commercially available 0.01% concentration at once daily dosage preferably at bedtime. There is no consensus on using variable doses for different rates of progression.
  9. A child in whom the rate of progression of myopia is not reduced by half its initial rate of progression may be classified as a non-responder. It is prudent to continue therapy for at least 1 year before classifying it as a non-responder.
  10. A child on atropine 0.01% eye drops may rarely complain of allergy, blurry vision for near, photophobia and headaches. This may require use of tinted lenses, bifocal glasses or discontinuation of therapy.
  11. Atropine treatment is currently not recommended, presence of any other ocular or systemic co-morbidity or atropine allergy.
  12. Atropine may be used in conjunction with other myopia control interventions like spending time outdoors and orthokeratology.
  13. The group feels that currently the use be limited to simple myopia (exclude other forms of myopia like pathological myopia and index myopia).
  14. Non-responders are occasionally encountered and may be shifted to higher concentrations of atropine or other forms of myopia control.

  Conclusion Top

Atropine sulphate 0.01% is a safe and effective treatment for myopia control. Most trained paediatric ophthalmologists recommend its use in children with progressive simple myopia.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Chua WH, Balakrishnan V, Chan YH, Tong L, Ling Y, Quah BL, et al. Atropine for the treatment of childhood myopia. Ophthalmology 2006;113:2285-91.  Back to cited text no. 1
Chia A, Chua WH, Cheung YB, Wong WL, Lingham A, Fong A, et al. Atropine for the treatment of childhood myopia: Safety and efficacy of 0.5%, 0.1%, and 0.01% doses (Atropine for the treatment of myopia 2). Ophthalmology 2012;119:347-54.  Back to cited text no. 2
Chia A, Lu QS, Tan D. Five-year clinical trial on atropine for the Treatment of myopia 2: Myopia control with atropine 0.01% eyedrops. Ophthalmology 2016;123:391-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
Kothari M, Rathod V. Efficacy of 1% Atropine eye drops in retarding progressive axial myopia in Indian Eyes. Indian J Ophthalmol 2017;65:1178-81.  Back to cited text no. 4
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