Purpose: This study aimed to observe the changes in spherical equivalent and ocular axial length 6 months after withdrawal of 1% atropine eye gel.
Methods: Due to COVID-19, the follow-up of patients in our optometric clinic who were undergoing myopia control treatment with a dropwise 1% atropine “5+3” regimen was interrupted. No return visit was made after the 3 months of at-home treatment, and follow-ups resumed 6 months after treatment withdrawal. The contralateral eye was not treated over the 9-month period. A total of 16 patients aged 11.5 years (average) were enrolled from November 2019 to March 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The treated eyes formed a treatment group (16 eyes) and the contralateral eyes formed a control group (16 eyes). The changes in spherical equivalent, ocular axial length, and intraocular pressure (IOP) were compared between groups.
Results: After 9 months, the changes in spherical equivalent were significantly less in the treatment group (0.00 ± 0.20 [D]) compared to the control group (-0.67 ± 0.25 [D]) (P<0.05). The ocular axial length changes were significantly less in the treatment group (0.00 ± 0.06 mm) compared to the control group (0.25 ± 0.11 mm) (P<0.05). There was no significant difference between the two groups for changes in IOP.
Conclusions: Despite treatment withdrawal after 3 months, treatment with 1% atropine eye gel successfully controlled myopia progression in the 6 months after withdrawal, as evidence by no rebound increase in myopic spherical equivalent after the withdrawal.