Medication for Glaucoma: What are the options?

List of Glaucoma medications:

Before recommending surgery or laser treatment, your doctor of optometry may recommend eye drop medications.

glaucoma eye compared to normal eye

There are several eye medications now used, and your eye doctor may prescribe one or a combination of the following medications: 

Alpha Agonist

  • Effects: Decreases production of fluid and helps increase drainage.
  • Benefits: May be more effective for glaucoma sufferers who have allergic reactions to preservatives in other eyedrops.
  • Side effects: Burning or stinging of the eye, fatigue, headache drowsiness, dry mouth and dry nose.

Beta Blockers

  • Effects: Decreases production of intraocular fluid.
  • Benefits: Available in generic form and is relatively inexpensive.
  • Side effects: Include low blood pressure and resulting complications in circulation, fatigue, shortness of breath in asthma sufferers.

Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors

  • Effects: Decreases the production of intraocular fluid.
  • Benefits: Available as both eyedrops and pills. The pill can be an alternative for those whose glaucoma cannot be controlled by eye drops.
  • Side effects: Stinging and burning in the eye. Tingling of loss of strength in the hands and feet, upset stomach, mental fuzziness, kidney stones, and frequent urination. Side effects can be minimized by closing the eyes following application.

Cholinergic (Miotic)

  • Effects: Reduces eye pressure by increasing drainage of intraocular fluid.
  • Benefits: Can be used alone or in combination with other glaucoma medications. Combining medications can help regulate fluid production in the eye as well as how much fluid drains from the eye.
  • Side effects: Dim vision, especially at night or in darkened places caused by constriction of the pupil.

Prostaglandin Analogs

  • Effects: Increases the outflow of intraocular fluid.
  • Benefits: Effective at reducing the intraocular pressure experienced by people suffering from open-angle glaucoma.
  • Side effects: Eye redness and itching, change in the color of the eye, with sunken eyes and darkening eyelid skin, growth of the eyelashes, and droopy eyelids.

Source: The Glaucoma Research Foundation

If you live in the Chicago area and are experiencing signs of glaucoma, you can request an appointment. Our friendly staff and dedicated optometrists, Drs. Mago and Totten are dedicated to giving you the best eye care. 

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