I'd appreciate hearing from anyone else whose eyes, eye muscles, or nervous system have been damaged by cycloplegics (atropine, or cyclogyl, drops to dilate pupils). In my case, atropine sulfate eye ointment set off a horrible deterioration that still continues, 19 years later. The eye muscles started going into spasm from any use of my near-vision, and from being around light, even dim light. Another effect is a severe sensation of current or electricity throughout the body. Later I also acquired Environmental Illness. There are serious CNS/brain effects that would take too long to try to describe here.
I've never encountered anyone with anything similar to this. Please contact me if you have any condition even remotely like the one I've described.
I am curious to know for what reason you were rxed the atropine to begin with? Was it perhaps for penalization for treatment of amblyopia? If so, you were already traveling a road that includes MANY vision/brain difficulties when you began treatment. Was this the case?
I should have known this would happen. This is exactly the kind of automatic dismissiveness that I've had to endure for twenty years. First, let me say that it actually did occur to me to go to a doctor. In fact, I've now spent half my life going to doctors for this, only to be told that atropine isn't *supposed* to have this effect, and therefore it isn't possible, and I must be imagining things or misinterpreting. Ophthalmologists will just briefly look into my eyes with a penlight, see no obvious growth to point to as a cause, and automatically declare the problem nonexistent, when all this indicates is that they haven't found a cause *yet*, not surprising considering they spend only a few seconds on these 'exams'. Besides, what I'm experiencing is happening to a large extent *behind* the eyes (muscles), where one cannot see in this kind of exam.
The entire behavior of my eye muscles changed during the two weeks I used atropine, permanently. It was sudden and severe, and I felt it happen more and more, in direct response to the drug. It's not as if this is totally different from the drug's usual action... atropine is a cycloplegic and is supposed to alter muscle tension. In this case, though, it caused spasm instead of relieving it. It does occasionally happen that a drug will have the opposite of the usual effect, in some patients.
The drug was given to me for a possible ciliary spasm. A few months after this happened, I found in an optometry paper (or an ophthalmological paper from an optometry library) that even though atropine generally paralyzes the ciliary (focusing) muscle by relaxing it, there are cases where it paralyzes by tightening, though this is not widely known. One ophthalmologist after another, though, states flatly that it could not have happened... how could it have, if they haven't heard of it?
It was not my intention to dismiss you or say that "it couldn't happen". However, you have admitted that your case IS unique and therefore you can expect a certain amount of surprise. The symptoms that you desribe can be attributed to occular migraines or after effects of certain SSRI medication. Have you ever been on PAXIL? Have you been tested for a sensitivity to atropine?
Have you contacted the Drs involved in the papers that you read to find out if they have any ideas or resources for you? If you are having problems with reading you may need to see a vision therapist to find out if some training and/or prisms or bifocals might help. Reading difficulties can often be tied to fusional problems with your eyes. I know of at least one VTOD who firmly believes that dialation can cause loss of fusion and thus avoids using it. If you lost fusion during the use of atropine it may be that you need some help regaining it.
Its not that I don't want you to discover the cause of your problem or think that it absolutly couldn't be the atropine, its just that I think it would be much more satisfying to find a solution for you. I hope you find an answer.
This is a total shot in the dark, but did you ever consider getting a second opinion from an opthamalogist who prescribes atropine a lot, such as a doctor who specializes in iritis? Such a specialist will have had more experience with negative reactions because they prescribe it so much for that condition. Also consider consulting some of the websites/boards that deal with chronic iritis. These people will have had a lot of experience with atropine.