Monday, March 16, 2009

Atropine Drops Day

In preparation for my daughter's eye appointment tomorrow we need to give her Atropine 1% drops in her eyes tonight and then again in the morning before the appointment. I went to the pharmacy today and filled the prescription, which was only $4.20 (co-pay) - good thing. I was fearing that the drops would be like the Pink Eye drops which were like $40 for a teeny tiny vial that ends up mostly not going in the kids eye. Since she has had pink eye and eye drops I think it will probably not be too much of an ordeal to put the drops in. But, you never know with Belle. She is filled with drama - so...

Before I put the drops in I had a few questions and started looking them up. Just what are these Atropine drops anyways.

1) Are these going to hurt/sting?
Google says Yes. Side effects include burning, itching, stinging.

2) Is she still going to be able to see with these in?
Google says not really, the point of the drops is that they cause the eye muscles to relax (therefore dilating the pupil) and blurring vision. If they suggest that an adult shouldn't drive with these in.. well, you get my drift. Vision is decreased. Atropine is also used as an alternative to patching in many amblyopia cases - the drops are applied to the good eye to blur the vision in it so that they have to work hard with the other eye. Ref: Patching vs Drops

3) Will she need to wear sunglasses tomorrow for brightness sensitivity?
Google says it isn't the world's worst idea. A side effect of atropine drops is sensitivity to sunlight.

Info about Atropine Drops from

Now, I understand these drops are required for the Eye doc to get a good look and see the 'big picture' about my daughter's eyes. But of course I am nervous. The warning on these drops reads: Atropine Drops should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed . Also, the doctor said to me that I should put the drops in at night before she goes to bed and then again in the morning before her appointment. Her appointment is at 10:15am. He also told me that if when she wakes up she is flushed, red cheeked or having trouble breathing to not give her the 2nd dose of the drops. When I asked the doctor questions about this he answered me but I still feel nervous. Of course, I googled. Thankfully, I found I wasn't alone. A post on a Prevent Blindness Forum with a parent going through almost the exact scenario - atropine for an eye test the night before and worries about the side effect of panting/redness, etc.

The response that put me at rest:

For many years atropine has been considered the "gold standard" for refraction. There is no doubt it gives you better paralysis of focusing so that you can find the most farsightedness possible when prescribing glasses for crossing. Cyclopentolate is used by most people now but it is not quite as good as atropine. It is much more easier to use since it takes much less time to work. If you want to be 100% certain that you have corrected all possible farsightedness, atropine is clearly better. The redness and flushing that can occur with atropine is not an allergic reaction. It is a systemic side-effect. In most people it is mild, it others it can lead to sweating and a change in mental status that requires treatmnet. This is rare.

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