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What Medications Are Used for Treating Glaucoma? By ksmmdeye on March 20, 2017

Administering eye drops to a patientGlaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. It's estimated that more than 3 million Americans have glaucoma, but only half of them realize that they suffer from the disease. Glaucoma is incurable, but with smart and properly timed diagnosis and glaucoma treatment, the loss of vision can be slowed down or even stopped.

The team at our West Orange eye care facility would like to go over the use of medications for the treatment of glaucoma. We'll look at the common kinds of drugs and then offer an overview of their side effects as well.

When Is Medication Recommended for Glaucoma Treatment?

Medicated eye drops are often the first treatment option for glaucoma. These drugs help slow down the progression of the condition, and in the process they help stop serious vision loss from occurring. When glaucoma is diagnosed, medications are prescribed soon after unless the condition is in more advanced stages.

If glaucoma medication proves ineffective, other more aggressive forms of treatment are likely.

Prostaglandin Analogs

Prostaglandin analogs are drugs that increase the outflow of fluid from a person's eyes. They are typically used as a first-line medication for glaucoma. Some common examples of prostaglandin analogs include:

  • Lumigan® (bimatoprost)
  • Travatan Z® (travoprost)
  • Xalatan® (latanoprost)
  • Zioptan™ (tafluprost)

Side Effects of Prostaglandin Analogs

Some side effects associated with prostaglandin analogs include:

  • Elongated eyelashes
  • Darkening of the eyelashes
  • Changes in iris color
  • Changes in skin pigment around the eyes
  • Conjunctival hyperemia

Beta Blockers

Beta blockers are the second most common glaucoma medications. They help decrease the production of fluid that flows into the eyes. Since beta blockers are available in generic form, they can tend to be less expensive than other glaucoma medication.

Side Effects of Beta Blockers

Some common side effects of beta blockers include:

  • Eye irritation
  • Blurry vision
  • Reduced heart rate

Beta blockers can cause serious adverse side effects in people who suffer from heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and depression. These conditions must be taken into account before an eye doctor prescribes this kind of medication.

Alpha Agonists

Alpha agonists are glaucoma drugs that decrease the production of fluid in the eyes while also increasing drainage of the eye fluid. Two common alpha agonists are:

  • Alphagan® P (brimonidine)
  • Iopidine®

Side Effects of Alpha Agonists

Some common side effects of alpha agonists include:

  • Eye irritation
  • Blurry vision
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Puffy eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors (CAIs)

Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (CAIs) work by reducing the production of intraocular fluid, thereby decreasing the presure within the eyes.

CAIs are available in eye drop and pill form. Eye drop forms of the medication include:

  • Azopt® (brinzolamide)
  • Trusopt® (dorzolamide)

Pill forms of the medication include:

  • Diamox (acetazolamide)
  • Neptazane® (methazolamide)

Side Effects of Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors (CAIs)

Some common side effects of carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (CAIs) include:

  • Eye irritation
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Cloudy vision
  • Headaches
  • Numbness of the hands and feet

Combining Medications

Some patients may need more than one type of medication to address their glaucoma. Combinations of the above drugs can be used in these cases. Doctors must take special care to avoid contraindications and other potential dangers when taking multiple drugs at the same time.

Contact Laser Vision Correction Center of New Jersey

For more information about treating glaucoma and preventing further vision loss, be sure to contact our advanced eye care and vision correction center today. The team at Laser Vision Correction Center of New Jersey is here to help you achieve better overall vision.

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Laser Vision Correction Center of New Jersey office

Laser Vision Correction Center of New Jersey

Dr. Kenneth S. Miller is a board-certified ophthalmologist with 40 years of experience serving the Northern New Jersey area. He is a member of several professional organizations, including:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery

To schedule a consultation at our practice, contact us online or call us in Whippany, NJ, at (973) 325-3300.

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