For several years now, Singapore researchers have known that atropine eye drops, which are used to treat myopia, can stop the condition from getting worse, or even improve the eyesight of a lucky few.
The Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) is now embarking on a 3½-year study to “determine if atropine eye drops can actually prevent or slow the onset of myopia in young children with myopic parents, just before it starts, or at the very early onset”.
Myopia, more commonly known as short-sightedness, is increasingly prevalent throughout the world, especially in Singapore where 80 per cent of children are set to develop it by the age of 18, according to SNEC.
At a press conference yesterday, Associate Professor Audrey Chia, investigator for the Atropine Treatment Of Myopia 3 (Atom 3), said the new study is a collaboration between the Singapore Eye Research Institute (Seri), Singapore Clinical Research Institute (SCRI) and SNEC.
“Unlike Atom 1 and 2, which were treatment-based studies to reduce myopia progression in myopic children, Atom 3 is different as we are targeting children who have yet to develop myopia,” said Dr Teoh Yee Leong, SCRI chief executive officer.
In the Atom 3 study, children will be given low-dose atropine eye drops of 0.01 per cent.
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