So, we are back on with myopia control again. If you were able to use the calculator with the link from the last post, you may have noticed that the most effective way to control myopia is with 1% Atropine eye drops once at night. While effective, the drops do come with some significant side effects. You will have a dilated pupil all the time. This leads to light sensitivity, blurriness up close, and can cause headaches in many patients. Also, some other less common side effects from using the drug for an extended period of time can begin to affect you systemically at those high doses.
Therefore, we prefer to use the lower concentration drops of .01% and .05%. They are close to the same effectiveness and have very minimal side effects. The difficulty with the lower concentrations is the fact that they must be made in a compounding pharmacy. Unfortunately, that does change the price quite a bit. Atropine 1% can be picked up at a regular pharmacy for $20-30, but the .01% can be picked up a compounding pharmacy for near $120. Additionally, the .01% drops are only good for 2 weeks; so, they will give you two bottles per month. One you will use, and the other will be placed in the freezer until the first runs out. That will be close to $1500 for the year plus the glasses or contacts that you or your loved ones need anyway. No information on whether insurance companies cover the drops at this time. That will vary based on an individual plan basis.
Right now glasses and contacts may be the most cost-effective treatment options. Some treatment is definitely better than no treatment. Next time we will introduce a new myopia control specific contact lens that will be hitting the market soon, and as always don’t forget to schedule your eye exam.