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Some children do not adjust to wearing glasses right away even if the glasses’ prescription is best for them. Children may act as if the glasses are too strong. It may help if your child uses atropine drops or ointment. This medicine will help your child adjust to wearing glasses and use them the right way. Atropine is an eye medicine that dilates (opens) the pupils. It also relaxes the focusing muscle. When a child who is far-sighted uses this medicine, the child’s vision will be more blurred unless the glasses are worn. If a bifocal is needed, vision will be blurred looking at items close-up. Unless the bifocal part is used.

How to Use the Medicine

The medicine will come as an ointment in a small tube or as eye drops in a small bottle.

Wash your hands before opening the tube or the bottle of medicine.

If the medicine is an ointment

  1. Pull the lower eyelid down.

  2. 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

  1. Pull the lower eyelid down.

  2. 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.

The medicine should be used in each eye at bedtime for ___________ days.

Special Precautions

If you use more of the 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 the 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 Pediatric Eye Clinic.

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 or drops wear off. Your child may still swim, run, and play during this time.

If any of the ointment or drops stay on your hands and you rub your own eye, your pupil may dilate. Your vision may become blurry. This is the reason you should wash your hands well after you put the medicine in your child’s eye.

Store the 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.

If you have any questions, please call:

UWHC Pediatric Eye Clinic: 

(608) 263-6414

8:00am – 4:30pm Monday – Friday

Nights and weekends, this number will give you the hospital paging operator. Ask for the Eye Resident on Call and leave your name and phone number with area code. The doctor will call you back.

If you live out of the area, please call 1-800-323-8942.