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Atropine: A New Therapy for Nearsightedness

As an eye care specialist, I prescribe many kids their first pair of glasses so they can function in school and see the world around them clearly. This is one of my least favorite things to do and let me explain why.

There are better options from a health standpoint than giving a child glasses to see far. If I prescribe a child glasses to correct nearsightedness (aka myopia), I expect that child will need a stronger prescription within a year. Glasses can even accelerate how fast the child’s eyesight will worsen.

Glasses do nothing to address the main issue. The child’s eyes are starting the long process of becoming extremely nearsighted and we add gasoline to the fire by only prescribing glasses. This is the most important time in a child’s life to intervene and do something about them becoming nearsighted (myopic).

The term “Myopia control” means slowing down how fast nearsightedness is becoming worse year-after-year. There are currently 3 myopia control methods. Two of the three involve special contact lenses called Ortho K and multifocal contacts, and one involves a special eye drop. I’ll be focusing on the eye drop in this particular discussion.

The special eye drop is called atropine, which is typically used in eye care to dilate the eyes and treat inflammation. The normal dose to treat inflammation and dilate the eyes is 1.0%. Recent studies indicate that an ultra-low dose of just 0.01% atropine is an effective treatment to slow the progression of myopia in children and has essentially no side-effects. [ATOM I and ATOM II studies*]

The eye drop does not completely stop myopia from becoming worse, but it should slow the progress by about 50%. So if your child’s eyes were worsening by 1.00 dioptor (the # on the glasses prescription) every year, we would expect only a 0.50 dioptor change every year after starting the atropine eye drop.

Using the drops will not improve eyesight, but it will decrease how bad a child’s eyesight will become. Many kids using the atropine treatment will need glasses for reading and some may need progressive lens glasses for the classroom.

The drops are most effective when used throughout childhood and the best results occur when used until the mid-to-late teen years. The lower we are able to keep the glasses prescription, the less eye disease the child will be at risk for as an adult, so treatment is recommended until the eyes are no longer becoming more nearsighted.

Like many things in medicine nowadays, the use of atropine for myopia control is considered an “off-label” use because it has not been evaluated by the FDA. Because of this, children using atropine for myopia control are monitored every few months to make sure the treatment plan is safe and working effectively.

Click here to learn more about Atropine for controlling the progression of myopia.

*The ATOM studies refer to Atropine Treatment of Myopia and can be read here []

In-Office Workshops: ADD & Vision

Registration is now open! Join us to learn about vision problems that mimic or complicate what is commonly called ADD/ADHD. Snacks, childcare and multiple dates available!

Many signs of A.D.D. are similar to those for vision deficits. Please join us in this workshop to learn current facts, and how to assess, test for and distinguish visual problems that mimic or complicate what is commonly called A.D.D. Fundamentals of vision will be covered as well as activities to help uncover underlying visual deficiencies.

Workshops are limited to 6 participants so Dr. John P. Jacobi, Developmental Optometrist, can help address each participant’s specific concerns and needs. Snacks will be served and childcare made available upon advance notice. Workshops are offered to educational and medical professionals and parents and caregivers alike.

Details, Dates and Registration

Pink, Stinging Eyes?

Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is one of the most frequently seen eye diseases, especially in kids. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria or even allergies to pollen, chlorine in swimming pools, and ingredients in cosmetics, or other irritants, which touch the eyes. Some forms of conjunctivitis might be quite transmittable and quickly spread in school and at the office.

Conjunctivitis is seen when the conjunctiva, or thin transparent layer of tissue covering the white part of the eye, becomes inflamed. You can identify conjunctivitis if you notice eye redness, discharge, itching or swollen eyelids and a crusty discharge surrounding the eyes early in the day. Pink eye infections can be divided into three main types: viral, allergic and bacterial conjunctivitis.

The viral type is usually a result of a similar virus to that which produces the recognizable red, watery eyes, sore throat and runny nose of the common cold. The red, itchy, watery eyes caused by viral pink eye are likely to last from a week to two and then will clear up on their own. You may however, be able to reduce some of the discomfort by using soothing drops or compresses. Viral pink eye is transmittable until it is completely cleared up, so in the meantime maintain excellent hygiene, remove eye discharge and try to avoid using communal pillowcases or towels. If your son or daughter has viral conjunctivitis, he or she will have to be kept home from school for three days to a week until symptoms disappear.

A bacterial infection such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or cream. One should notice an improvement within just a few days of antibiotic drops, but be sure to adhere to the full prescription dosage to prevent pink eye from recurring.

Allergic pink eye is not contagious. It is usually a result of a known allergy such as hay fever or pet allergies that sets off an allergic reaction in their eyes. First of all, to treat allergic pink eye, you should eliminate the irritant. Use cool compresses and artificial tears to relieve discomfort in mild cases. When the infection is more severe, your eye doctor might prescribe a medication such as an anti-inflammatory or antihistamine. In cases of chronic allergic pink eye, topical steroid eye drops could be used.

Pink eye should always be diagnosed by a qualified eye doctor in order to identify the type and best course of treatment. Never treat yourself! Keep in mind the sooner you begin treatment, the lower chance you have of giving pink eye to loved ones or prolonging your discomfort.


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Reserve Your Spot Today (appointment is recommended).

Suburban Eye Care, P.C.

32415 Five Mile Road
Livonia, MI 48154
Phone: (734) 525-8170

New Technology Helps Macular Degeneration Patients at Low Vision of Michigan

Low Vision of Michigan at Suburban Eye Care is one of only two locations in the country to pioneer this new, groundbreaking device to help low vision patients regain sight. Dr. Jacobi has trialed a groundbreaking new device with patient Harry Pierce,an 81-year-old, retired Marine.

Age is just a number to Harry Pierce. The 81-year-old Veteran and former Mayor is full of personality who values time with his family and is an avid bowler. Mr. Pierce was no longer driving and wanting to see the television, computer and newsprint more easily, after years of suffering from both Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma. After Mr. Pierce was fitted with the LPTS, he was immediately excited and remarked how he is “… now able to see!”

“Keeping patients functional, “says Dr. Jacobi, “is necessary to keeping them in the game of life. The more active and connected to people, the less likely patients like Harry Pierce will become depressed and isolated. It’s an ongoing discussion between my low vision patients and I, and I am grateful to Designs for Vision for continually finding new solutions that I can offer to them.” It is remarkable to have someone so full of life be optimistic about staying fully engaged in the activities he loves to do; something that Dr. Jacobi’s practice values at the core of its mission. Unfortunately, not all patients with Macular Degeneration know that these services exist.

February is Macular Degeneration Awareness month. By 2020, it is estimated that over three million people will be affected by Macular Degeneration, a degenerative disease that robs its victims of their sharp, central vision. Dr. Jacobi’s practice exists to keep those with low vision as functional, safe and independent as possible. As for Mr. Pierce, he is still adding to his stories today thanks to the commitment and passion of Dr. Jacobi. For more information on Low Vision of Michigan and Dr. Jacobi, please visit or call for a telephone consultation with their Low Vision Coordinator to determine if you are a candidate for low vision care at (734) 525-8170.