Atropine to Treat Amblyopia
Your child’s eye doctor has prescribed the use of atropine to treat your child’s amblyopia. Atropine is a medicine that is used to dilate the eye. It will also relax the eye’s focusing muscle. When atropine is put in your child’s eye, it causes blurring of the near vision in that eye. Blurring the vision in the better eye encourages the use of the weaker or “lazy eye”. This causes the vision in the weaker eye to improve. If your child’s doctor has prescribed glasses for your child, they should be worn while using atropine.
How to Use the Medicine
The medicine will come as an ointment in a small tube, like a tube of toothpaste, or as eye drops in a small bottle.
The medicine should be used in the ________________ eye.
Use once a day at bedtime or wake-up time in the morning.
Wash your hands before opening the tube or the bottle of medicine.
If the medicine is an ointment, pull the lower eyelid down and squeeze a small dab, about the size of a grain of rice, into the space between the eyelid and the eyeball.
If the medicine is an eye drop, pull the lower eyelid down and put one drop into the space between the eyelid and the eyeball.
After you put the medicine in your child’s eye, wash your hands again.
If you use more medicine than is needed, your child’s face may look flushed or feel warm. This most often does not mean that your child is allergic to the medicine, but it means too much was used. If using ointment, use a smaller amount for the next dose. If using eye drops, be sure to use only one drop in the eye. If this happens again, stop using the ointment or drops and call the nurse in the Pediatric Eye Clinic at (608) 263-6605.
While your child’s eyes are dilated, no special safety measures need to be taken. Your child may be a little light sensitive. Light will not damage or hurt the eyes, but you may find that your child squints more in the sunlight. Your child may be more at ease with sunglasses or a hat with a visor. Sometimes, eye muscle control may seem worse while the pupils are dilated. This will go back to normal after the ointment wears off. Your child may still swim, run, and play during this time.
If any of the ointment or drops stay on your hands after you handle the tube or bottle, and you rub your own eye, your pupil may dilate and your vision may become somewhat blurry. This is the reason you should wash your own hands well after you put the ointment in your child’s eye.
Store this medicine in a safe place that is out of the reach of children. If it is taken by mouth, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #7139.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 01/23/2013
Copyright © 02/24/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5220
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