Gel decelerates myopia progression

October 1, 2008

Daily treatment with pirenzepine gel can slow the rate of progressive myopia in children, according to a study published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.

Daily treatment with pirenzepine gel can slow the rate of progressive myopia in children, according to a study published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.

R. Michael Siatkowski, MD, of Dean McGee Eye Institute, University of Oklahoma, US randomized paediatric myopia patients into groups receiving treatment either with pirenzepine gel or with an inactive placebo gel. At baseline, all subjects had moderate myopia, of approximately -2.00 D. Eighty-four patients reached the final follow-up point of two years (pirenzepine, n=53; placebo, n=31).

After a year, the average increase in myopia was significantly less for children using pirenzepine than using placebo: 0.58 D and 0.99 D, respectively. Although myopia did worsen in both groups of children, the rate of progression was slower with pirenzepine.

Thirty-seven percent of children using pirenzepine met the cut-off point for being prescribed new glasses, which is when myopia worsens by 0.75 D, compared with 68% of the placebo group. Eleven percent of children stopped using the gel because of eye irritation; the amount of change in the length of the eyeball was not significantly different between groups.

The researchers concluded that, although treatment with the gel appears to slow progression of myopia, more research is needed to determine whether pirenzepine affects growth of the eyes.