Introduction to Atropine
Atropine can be used as a form of occlusion therapy (patching) for children with amblyopia (weak eye).
Atropine comes in the form of drops or ointment.
The effect of atropine is to dilate the pupil (the black part of the eye) and relax the focussing of the eye, therefore temporarily blurring the vision in the good eye. The vision in the good eye will be blurred when looking at objects close to, forcing your child to use their weaker eye, helping to improve the vision in that eye.
Atropine can be instilled whilst your child is sleeping.
Atropine should not be used if your child suffers from heart problems or has a high fever.
Instructions for use
- The drop/ointment is inserted into the good eye only
- Wash your hands
- Gently pull down the lower eyelid of the good eye with your finger
- Ask your child to look up if possible
- Instil one drop or squeeze a little ointment into the area between the eyeball and the lower eyelid
- If you think the drop didn’t go into the eye, you can repeat the process but do not try more than twice
- Release the eyelid and ensure you wash your hands after instillation
- Try not to let your child rub their eyes or the atropine may go in both eyes
- Atropine does not usually sting.
Effects of Atropine
The blurring effect of atropine can last seven days or more and the pupil may remain dilated for up to 14 days after the last instillation. As you child’s pupil will be dilated. They will be more sensitive to bright light, therefore it will help if they wear sunglasses or a sunhat when outdoors. If your child is at school, please notify their teacher.
Side Effects – Important
Side effects are rare, but may include a hot flushed appearance. a sore red eye, stomach upset, rash, headaches, dry mouth, or nausea. If your child experiences any side effects, stop using the drops/ointment immediately and seek medical advice by phoning the Orthoptic Department on 01253 953 457 or your own GP if outside normal working hours.
If your child is seen by another healthcare professional, you must tell them that your child is using Atropine drops/ointment.
Very occasionally, the amblyopia (weak eye) can reverse (6% chance, reference 1). The previously better seeing eye then becomes the weaker eye. Therefore, regular monitoring of your child’s vision is important at the instruction of your Orthoptist (reference 2).
Follow up appointments
It is very important to try and keep all arranged follow up appointments, as these form a vital part of the treatment. Failure to attend an appointment will mean the treatment must be stopped as regular supervision is essential.
If you cannot attend please phone 01253 953 457 and inform us.
We will give you another appointment and advice on the continued use of Atropine.
We are here to try and give your child the best achievable level of vision possible, so your child does rely on your help and support to do this.
- Binocul vis Strabismus Q. 2009;224(1):25-31
- Oman J Ophthalmol. 2010 Sep-Dec; 3(3): 148-149