Medication slows progression of myopia in children

Aug 26, 2008

Daily treatment with a medication called pirenzepine can slow the rate of progressive myopia, or nearsightedness, in children, reports a study in the August issue of the Journal of AAPOS (American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus).

Led by Dr. R. Michael Stiatkowski of Dean McGee Eye Institute/University of Oklahoma Department of Ophthalmology, the researchers evaluated the effects of pirenzepine in children with myopia. Myopia—sometimes called nearsightedness—is a condition in which focus on near objects is good, but distant objects appear blurry. Caused by a problem with the length of the eyeball or the curvature of the cornea, myopia gets worse over time in many children.

In the study, children with myopia were randomly assigned to treatment with pirenzepine gel or an inactive placebo gel. After a year of treatment, the average increase in myopia was significantly less for children using pirenzepine. The new study presents the final results in 84 patients who continued treatment for a total of two years: 53 with pirenzepine and 31 with placebo.

Although myopia worsened in both groups of children, the rate of progression was slower with pirenzepine. At the end of two years, myopia increased by an average of 0.58 diopters in children using pirenzepine versus 0.99 diopters with placebo. (All children initially had "moderate" myopia, with an average refractive error of about -2.00 diopters.)

New glasses are generally prescribed when myopia worsens by at least 0.75 diopters. During the study, 37 percent of children using pirenzepine met this cut-off point compared with 68 percent of the placebo group. With glasses, all children had about 20/20 vision at both the beginning and end of the study.

Pirenzepine treatment was generally safe, although eleven percent of children stopped using it because of side effects such as eye irritation. The drug also caused mild dilation of the pupils. The amount of change in the length of the eyeball was not significantly different between groups, although more research is needed to determine whether pirenzepine affects the growth of the eyes.

Myopia is the leading cause of loss of vision worldwide, affecting at least 25 percent of U.S. adults. Effective treatments to prevent or delay progressive myopia may reduce the risk of serious complications such as detached retina and glaucoma—even for children with moderate myopia, the risk of retinal detachment is increased by up to four times.

Treatments to slow worsening myopia could also have important quality-of-life benefits. For example, while children with -1.00 diopter of myopia may need glasses only part-time, those with -2.00 diopters will probably need glasses for all activities, including school and sports.

Previous studies have suggested that a drug called atropine can delay progression of myopia. The new results show that pirenzepine—a related drug with fewer side effects—is also safe and effective for this purpose.

More research will be needed before pirenzepine can be widely recommended for children with myopia. Key questions include the long-term effects and optimal length of pirenzepine treatment. In addition, more convenient and practical methods of drug administration may help to overcome some of the disadvantages of pirenzepine gel.

Source: Elsevier

Explore further: Immigrant children given adult dose of hepatitis A vaccine

Related Stories

Solar Impulse 2 pilot becomes aviation legend

1 hour ago

At 62 years of age, Swiss Solar Impulse 2 pilot Andre Borschberg has made aviation history with a record breaking solo flight across the Pacific that he has called "an interior journey".

Facegloria: Facebook for Brazil's Evangelicals

1 hour ago

Fluffy clouds waft across a blue sky as you log in and while you chat with friends, Gospel music rings out: welcome to Facegloria, the social network for Brazilian Evangelicals.

Mexico City proposes regulations for Uber

2 hours ago

Mexico City is proposing regulations that would allow Uber and other smartphone-based ride-sharing apps to operate, while requiring drivers and cars to be registered, the city's Office of Legal and Legislative Studies said ...

Researchers discover new mechanism of DNA repair

15 hours ago

The DNA molecule is chemically unstable giving rise to DNA lesions of different nature. That is why DNA damage detection, signaling and repair, collectively known as the DNA damage response, are needed.

Recommended for you

Philippines confirms second MERS case (Update)

7 hours ago

A foreigner who flew to the Philippines from the Middle East has become the second confirmed case of MERS in the country, the health department said Monday, as a deadly outbreak in South Korea spreads alarm across Asia.

Immigrant children given adult dose of hepatitis A vaccine

Jul 04, 2015

About 250 immigrant children were given an adult dose of a hepatitis A vaccine at a Texas detention facility where they were being held with their mothers, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.