- POSTED: 17 Dec 2013 16:08
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An eye-drop treatment to slow down myopia among children is getting more focused attention with the opening of a new Myopia Clinic in Singapore.
SINGAPORE: An eye-drop treatment to slow down myopia among children is getting more focused attention with the opening of a new Myopia Clinic in Singapore.
Run by the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC), the clinic is staffed by a team of SNEC paediatric doctors who advise parents of the suitability of their child for the ultra low dose atropine treatment.
The treatment is targeted at children, from six to 12 years old, who would otherwise face quick progression in their myopia.
Doctors at the clinic will also monitor the response of each child to the treatment, said an SNEC statement issued on Tuesday.
The atropine eye drop, which is dispensed on prescription from the doctors, can be administered at home.
Young patients can typically go to the clinic to have their response to the treatment assessed by doctors periodically, such as every three months.
The atropine eye-drop treatment is among the wider research that SNEC doctors are working on with the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI).
SNEC Director Professor Donald Tan said: "While we have not found a way to cure myopia, we have found a groundbreaking way to slow the progression."
"With the breakthrough findings of low dose atropine eye-drop treatment being effective, doctors at SNEC, in conjunction with SERI, are continuing research on different administration of atropine and other modes of treatment to provide safe and effective means of retarding myopia progression," he added.
A five-year trial on diluted atropine eye drop carried out by Professor Tan and his team at SNEC and SERI has shown that an ultra low dose (0.01 per cent) of atropine is effective in slowing myopia progression by 50 to 60 per cent over a two-year period with very little side effects.
This means that if a child's myopia were progressing by 100 degrees per year, it would slow to progress at less than 50 degrees a year with the treatment.
The effect of atropine builds over time, producing better results in the second than in the first year.
The statement said as low dose (0.01 per cent) atropine causes minimal increase in pupil size, children will not require tinted or progressive reading glasses for near work.
It also said low doses of atropine is a safer and more comfortable treatment as compared to higher doses of atropine.