Medications for Glaucoma: Patient Information By deborah on July 26, 2016

A woman using eye dropsThe team at Choate Eye Associates believes in helping patients see clearly again, and also improving overall wellness through advanced eye care. This focus on the patients vision in the present and the patient's vision in the future is what makes us such a trusted resource for eye care in the Nashville area.

We mention the present and the future for a reason. Getting early glaucoma treatment and diagnosis can help you avoid significant and total vision loss. Let's cover some basics about glaucoma and then look at medications that can be helpful for treatment.

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is one of the most serious forms of permanent vision loss that a person can face. The condition is caused by an increase in intraocular pressure that results in damage to the optic nerve. The effects of glaucoma are irreversible, so treatments for the condition are predominantly aimed at slowing the rate of vision loss or maintaining current vision.

Eye drops are the most common kinds of medications used to treat glaucoma, but oral medications can also be used to address the condition. Let's look at some of the common medication types.

Alpha Agonists

Alpha agonists are used to help increase the drainage of fluid within a person's eye. This drug will also help reduce the amount of fluid produced by the eye. While generic versions of these drugs are available, they are marketed under the brand names Alphagan and Propine.

Potential side effects of alpha agonists include:

  • Reduced heart rate
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue

Beta Blockers

The second most common kind of glaucoma medication, beta blockers are used to decrease the amount of fluid within your eyes. Generic beta blockers are available, though they are marketed under the brand names Timoptic, Betagan, Betimol, and Ocupress.

Potential side effects of beta blockers include:

  • Reduced heart rate
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue

Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors (CAIs)

Like beta blockers, CAIs are used in order to reduce the production of intraocular fluid. CAIs are available in both pill form and eye drop form, and they are marketed under the names Azopt, Diamox, and Trusopt.

Potential side effects of carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (CAIs) include:

  • Itchiness and stinging in the eyes (eye drop form)
  • Upset stomach (pill form)
  • Depression (pill form)
  • Tingling hands (pill form)
  • Tingling feet (pill form)
  • Frequent need to urinate (pill form)

Prostaglandin Analogs

Prostaglandin analogs are taken in order to improve the outflow of fluid from a person's eyes. Available in generic form like all of the drugs listed, prostaglandin analogs are marketed under the brand names Lumigan, Travatan, and Xalatan.

Potential side effects of prostaglandin analogs include:

  • Changes in eye color
  • Changes in skin color of the eyelids
  • Blurry vision
  • Red eye
  • Itchy eyes
  • Burning sensation of eyes

Combining Glaucoma Medications

When a single glaucoma medication is not enough to improve overall wellness and results, it's not uncommon for combinations of glaucoma medications to be used. The ideal combination of medications can be discussed in greater detail during your consultation at the practice.

Learn More About Treating Glaucoma

To learn more about treating glaucoma and how we can help prevent vision loss, be sure to contact our team of eye care specialists today. The team here at Choate Eye Associates will help you achieve optimal wellness.

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Dr. Choate

Choate Eye Associates

Choate Eye Associates has been delivering high-quality, compassionate eye care to the Nashville community since 1979. We are affiliated with various leading organizations in the field, including: 

  • American Academy of Optometry
  • American Optometric Association 
  • National Board of Examiners in Optometry 

To schedule a consultation at our practice, call us at (615) 851-7575 or request an appointment online

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"I am very pleased with the attention I received at Choate Eye Associates. Dr. Choate is very thorough and does a wonderful job of explaining what he is doing and what he is looking for in the exam." Dianal - Comprehensive Eye Care Patient

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