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Myopia study seeks Australian participants

22/11/2017By Matthew Woodley
A three-year Atropine for the Treatment of Myopia (ATOM) trial is set to take place in Western Australia, with researchers currently seeking children to participate.

The Lion’s Eye Institute (LEI) research will mirror previous trials conducted in Singapore that demonstrated the effectiveness of low-dose Atropine in slowing myopia progression with minimal side effects in Asian children. However, according to LEI managing director Professor David Mackey, there is evidence that Atropine was not as effective in Caucasian children in slowing myopia progression.

“Perth has more hours of sunlight than any Asian city and there is evidence that outdoor activity and exposure to sunlight is protective against myopia,” he said.


“The effect of Atropine in the Australian context has not been studied and this trial will provide us with the evidence to support – or not – the use of low-dose Atropine for Australian children with myopia.”
David Mackey, LEI managing director

“Our sporting and outdoor culture is very different to the highly urbanised and education-focused culture of Asian cities. The effect of Atropine in the Australian context has not been studied and this trial will provide us with the evidence to support – or not – the use of low-dose Atropine for Australian children with myopia.”

The LEI is seeking children aged 6–16 with myopia (-1.50 dioptres or more) and who have confirmed myopia progression (-0.50 dioptres over the past 12 months). Participants will be randomly allocated treatment with low-dose Atropine (0.01%) or placebo eyedrops.

The research was initially funded by the Telethon Perth Children’s Hospital Research Fund, but has also received funding support from the Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia in the form of a $50,000 grant.

ATOM study lead Dr Anthony Clark, said it was important to identify treatments that will halt or slow the progression of myopia as, “it is associated with an increased risk for a number of serious conditions including cataract, retinal detachment, macular disease and glaucoma.”

The effect of treatment on myopia progression will be assessed after three years. Trial participants will be seen three times in the first year and twice a year in the following two years.

Possible participants for the WA ATOM trial are encouraged to email myopia@lei.org.au.

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