Clinical trial results of atropine eye drops offer hope for slowing the progression of nearsightedness (myopia) in children.
Myopic eyes increase the risk of retinal detachment, macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma later in life. Currently, there are no pharmaceutical products approved to treat myopia in either Europe or the United States. Myopia affects almost 1 in 3 adults with it expected to increase by 50% worldwide by 2050.
Jama Ophthalmology has the results of the Childhood Atropine for Myopia Progression (CHAMP) study published online. The 3-year clinical trial involved 573 participants and included children from ages 3 to 16 in North America and five countries in Europe. Researchers compared atropine solutions of .01% and .02% with a placebo. Researchers found that the .01% solution was demonstrably better at slowing the elongation of the eye (which causes nearsightedness) resulting in lower glasses prescription.
The second phase of the clinical trial will evaluate how the eyes respond once the treatment with the atropine is concluded. This experimental eye drop is preservative free and if FDA approved, it would be made available in single-use packaging.