Atropine penalisation

To provide information to carers of children having Atropine treatment for Amblyopia.

You can download this information in a printable pdf format by clicking on the link below.

ULHT-LFT-0762 Atropine Treatment v5To view a PDF you may need to download Adobe Reader.


To provide information to carers of children having Atropine treatment for Amblyopia.

Your child has been prescribed Atropine 1% eye drops to treat their amblyopia (lazy eye).

Atropine blurs the near (close up) vision in the better seeing eye. This encourages use of the eye with the poorer vision and the vision in this eye will improve with time.

Use of Atropine for this condition is called Atropine penalisation.

Use the eye drops as instructed by the eye team.

The pupil (central black part of the eye) will dilate, the vision will become blurred and this will continue to last for up to two weeks after the treatment has stopped.

Points to remember:

  • Store the drops in a safe place.
  • The eye drops have been prescribed for your child only and you must never let other people use them.
  • Wash your hands before and after putting in the drops.
  • Be careful not to get the drops in your own eye – you could have blurred vision for up to two weeks.

Some questions you may have:

  • Do the drops hurt?
    No, unlike other eye drops, they rarely sting.
  • How do I put the drops in?
    With your child lying down and looking up to the ceiling, hold the eye open and squeeze the dropper bottle.

Do not let the bottle touch the eye if at all possible.

If you child is frightened, you may put the eye drop in when your child is asleep.

Are there any side effects?

Do not use atropine if your child suffers from heart problems or has a high fever.

Occasionally a child can develop:

  • redness, itchiness, swelling or dryness around the eye
  • a temperature or facial flushing
  • restlessness, hyperactivity or irritability
  • dryness of the skin or mouth
  • vomiting

If any of these happen, stop using the drops and contact the eye clinic.

How do I store the drops?

They should be kept at room temperature out of reach of children.

How long should I use them for?

Treatment may be continued for some months although your child will have regular orthoptic review throughout the treatment.

What if I miss an appointment?

You should re-arrange the appointment as soon as possible. The treatment must be carried out under strict supervision.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask your Orthoptist on the telephone numbers below.