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Current and emerging pharmaceutical interventions for myopia
  1. Kritchai Vutipongsatorn1,
  2. Tae Yokoi2,
  3. Kyoko Ohno-Matsui2
  1. 1 Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK
  2. 2 Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kyoko Ohno-Matsui, Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan; k.ohno.oph{at}


Myopia is a major cause of visual impairment. Its prevalence is growing steadily, especially in East Asia. Despite the immense disease and economic burden, there are currently no Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs for myopia. This review aims to summarise pharmaceutical interventions of myopia at clinical and preclinical stages in the last decade and discuss challenges for preclinical myopia drugs to progress to clinical trials. Atropine and oral 7-methylxanthine are shown to reduce myopia progression in human studies. The former has been extensively studied and is arguably the most successful medication. However, it has side effects and trials on low-dose atropine are ongoing. Other pharmaceutical agents being investigated at a clinical trial level include ketorolac tromethamine, oral riboflavin and BHVI2 (an experimental drug). Since the pathophysiology of myopia is not fully elucidated, numerous drugs have been tested at the preclinical stage and can be broadly categorised based on the proposed mechanisms of myopisation, namely antimuscarinic, dopaminergic, anti-inflammatory and more. However, several agents were injected intravitreally or subconjunctivally, hindering their progress to human trials. Furthermore, with atropine being the most successful medication available, future preclinical interventions should be studied in combination with atropine to optimise the treatment of myopia.

  • drugs
  • pharmacology
  • retina
  • treatment medical

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  • Contributors KV performed literature review, drafted and revised the manuscript. TY and KOM provided guidance at the drafting stage and revised it before submission. Additionally, KOM conceived the idea and set the scope for the review. KOM is the guarantor of the study.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.