Because the majority of studies assessing the efficacy of 0.01% atropine are based in Asia, researchers in Milan wanted to take a closer look at its effect on a European cohort and conducted a retrospective, medical records review study to analyze atropine with European children. They found that the treatment significantly slowed the rate of myopia progression in European pediatric patients with a favorable safety profile.

The study assessed medical records of 52 patients with a myopia progression > 0.5D/year treated with atropine 0.01% for at least one year and 50 control subjects. In the atropine group, the mean rate of myopia progression after 12 months of treatment (-0.54±0.61D) was significantly slower compared with the baseline progression (-1.20±0.64D) and compared with the progression in the control group (-1.09±0.64D). Of treated patients, spherical equivalent progression was < 0.50D after 12 months of treatment in 79%. Patients did not report severe adverse events, revealing only temporary photophobia in five patients (9.6%), and none discontinued treatment.

The researchers did note that because their retrospective chart review analyzed patients who were still under treatment with atropine, it couldn’t provide information about myopia progression after treatment ended. Further analysis will shed light on the rebound effect in European children treated with low-dose atropine. Still, the study concluded that, even in European patients, low-dose atropine is an effective and safe treatment and should be considered in myopic subjects who meet inclusion criteria.

Sacchi M, Serafino M, Villani E, et al. Efficacy of atropine 0.01% for the treatment of childhood myopia in European patients. Acta Ophthalmol. June 13, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].