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A common question that we have had from parents is where can they buy 0.01% atropine eye drops? Low-dose atropine is a highly effective treatment strategy to slow short-sightedness progression in children and teenagers, with very low risks of side effects, and is one that we at Eyecare Concepts prescribe regularly as part of our SightControl program for myopia control.
While regular-dose atropine eye drops (1% concentration) are readily available as a prescription medicine in pharmacies, this concentration is not commonly used for myopia control as the potential side effects and adverse reactions in the eye and also in the body are considered too high to be used long-term.
0.01% atropine eye drops are essentially a diluted formulation (1/100th concentration) of the regular 1% atropine, and at this very low concentration it is a much safer treatment for young children. This low-dose form is not currently commercially available in Australia — although there are whispers that some pharmaceutical companies are working to make this available in due course, such is the growing need for effective myopia control for children worldwide.
At the present time 0.01% atropine is only available as a compounded medicine — that means it is formulated by a compounding chemist and bottled individually on order. The compounding chemist must also be one certified and suitably equipped to produce sterile bottles of eye drops, without risk of possible contamination that could lead to infection. Optometrists are, by Australian law, unable to dispense prescription-only eye drops directly to patients.
GETTING A PRESCRIPTION FOR LOW-DOSE ATROPINE
In Australia, 0.01% atropine does NOT necessarily need to be prescribed by an eye specialist (an ophthalmologist). A therapeutically-endorsed optometrist with an interest in myopia control can prescribe this low-dose atropine treatment for your child.
Please also note that if you have a prescription from overseas for a child already using low-dose atropine treatment for myopia control, you will need a new prescription issued in Australia to purchase the eye drops here, as overseas prescriptions cannot be accepted.
As an experienced, therapeutically-endorsed optometrist with expertise in myopia control, our optometrist can assess your child's myopia, prescribe low-dose atropine treatment and manage his/her myopia progression without the need see an eye specialist first. We can even measure your child's eye length to monitor eye growth and progression.
This is a bulk billing clinic and a referral is not required.
Conveniently located near our Kew East practice, Pharmacy Smart Compounding in Balwyn (with another branch in East Melbourne) is a compounding chemist that we recommend to our local patients. Each bottle of eye drops, priced at around $36, has an expiry of 1 month after opening and an unopened shelf life of 3 months. A discount may be available for a dual pack (2 months of treatment). Occasionally they may have pre-made bottles in stock, otherwise a new bottle takes around 2 days to prepare.
For patients outside of Melbourne we can give recommendations of interstate compounding pharmacies able to supply 0.01% atropine eye drops for postal delivery. Please contact our practice for further details.
USING LOW-DOSE ATROPINE EYE DROPS
Low-dose atropine eye drops are administered one drop per day, in each eye, at night before sleep. Your child's regular glasses and/or contact lenses are to be worn as usual to see.
An initial one-month trial of the eye drops is recommended for children first starting treatment, to ensure the medication is well tolerated by your child and that there are no unexpected sensitivity or adverse events. While the medication is safe it is still a chemical agent going in your child's eyes. Some children report a very slight increase in glare sensitivity. After a successful first month, it may be more economical to purchase a bulk supply (2 to 6 months) at a time instead of single bottles.
Children on low-dose atropine for myopia control need to be monitored on a regular basis. When we issue a prescription for atropine treatment we take on the responsibility of managing your child's myopia and eye health.
We review children with myopia progression every 6 months and tailor their treatment according to their rate of progression. An increase of atropine dosage to 0.02% or 0.05% (also need to be compounded), or a change to another form of myopia control therapy, such as Ortho-K and MiSight lenses, or combination treatment, are sometimes required for kids who do not respond well to 0.01% atropine alone. Every child is different, and some children's myopia progression are more challenging to manage.
Besides low-dose atropine, all other current evidence-based treatments for myopia control in children are available at Eyecare Concepts. You may also visit our myopia clinic's dedicated Myopia Clinic website for further information.
If you have any questions about 0.01% atropine eye drops please call us on (03) 9819 7695, or click below to book a consultation for your child.
MELBOURNE MYOPIA CONTROL OPTOMETRIST — KEW · KEW EAST · BALWYN
Philip Cheng - B.Optom (Melb) Ocular Therapeutics (GCOT). Optometrist at Eyecare Concepts Kew East, Melbourne. An experienced eye care & contact lens practitioner with expertise in myopia control & orthokeratology.