Reducing the progression of myopia with atropine: a long term cohort study of Olmsted County students.

R. H. Kennedy, J. A. Dyer, M. A. Kennedy, S. Parulkar, L. T. Kurland, D. C. Herman, D. McIntire, D. Jacobs, R. V. Luepker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Myopia is an important public health problem because it is common and is associated with increased risk for chorioretinal degeneration, retinal detachment, and other vision- threatening abnormalities. In animals, ocular elongation and myopia progression can be lessened with atropine treatment. This study provides information about progression of myopia and atropine therapy for myopia in humans. METHODS: A total of 214 residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota (118 girls and 96 boys, median age, 11 years; range 6 to 15 years) received atropine for myopia from 1967 through 1974. Control subjects were matched by age, sex, refractive error, and date of baseline examination to 194 of those receiving atropine. Duration of treatment with atropine ranged from 18 weeks to 11.5 years (median 3.5 years). RESULTS: Median followup from initial to last refraction in the atropine group (11.7 years) was similar to that in the control group (12.4 years). Photophobia and blurred vision were frequently reported, but no serious adverse effects were associated with atropine therapy. Mean myopia progression during atropine treatment adjusted for age and refractive error (0.05 diopters per year) was significantly less than that among control subjects (0.36 diopters per year)(P<.001). Final refractions standardized to the age of 20 years showed a greater mean level of myopia in the control group (3.78 diopters) than in the atropine group (2.79 diopters) (P<.001). CONCLUSIONS: The data support the view that atropine therapy is associated with decreased progression of myopia and that beneficial effects remain after treatment has been discontinued.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-304
Number of pages24
JournalBinocular vision & strabismus quarterly
Issue number3 Suppl
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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