Glaucoma Eye Drops
If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, your ophthalmologist will most likely begin treatment by prescribing eye drops. Prescription eye drops for glaucoma are intended to reduce pressure within your eye (intraocular pressure) caused by a build of up fluid called aqueous humor. The eye drops you are prescribed will either work to decrease the amount fluid your eye produces or increase the outflow of fluid from your eye.
Following Treatment Instructions
With glaucoma eye drops, it is extremely important to use them exactly as instructed by your doctor. Your doctor will recommend a specific dosage of your eye drops that you should use every day. If this protocol is not followed, your glaucoma could progress and lead to permanent vision loss. Never change or stop taking your glaucoma eye drops without first talking to your ophthalmologist.
You should also inform your doctor of other medications you are currently taking so they can be aware of possible side effects or interactions.
Types of Eye Drops Prescribed for Glaucoma
Depending on your eye pressure and the type of glaucoma with which you are diagnosed, your doctor will prescribe one or more of the following types of glaucoma eye drops.
- Beta-Blockers – Beta-blockers work by reducing the production of fluid in your eye in order to reduce intraocular pressure. These eye drops may be prescribed for once- or twice-daily use by your ophthalmologist.
- Prostaglandin Analogs – Prostaglandin analogs increase the drainage of fluid from your eye to reduce intraocular pressure. They are usually prescribed for once-daily use.
- Alpha-Adrenergic Agonists – Alpha-adrenergic agonists reduce the production of aqueous humor and increase the outflow of fluid from your eye. These eye drops may be prescribed to be used twice or three times daily.
- Miotics – Miotics increase the amount of fluid that drains out of your eye thus relieving intraocular pressure. They also cause your pupil (the black center of the iris) to constrict, or get smaller. These eye drops are usually prescribed to be used up to four times a day.
- Rho Kinase Inhibitors – Rho kinase inhibitors primarily lower intraocular pressure by increasing outflow of fluid through the trabecular meshwork. They are typically prescribed for once-a-day use.
- Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors – Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors work to reduce the production of aqueous humor in your eye. These eye drops are usually prescribed to be used two to three times per day.
Are There Any Risks Associated with Eye Drops?
While eye drops can help you keep your vision, certain eye drops may also cause side effect such as:
- Stinging or itching
- Red eyes or red skin around your eye(s)
- Change in pulse or heartbeat
- Change in energy level
- Change in breathing (especially if you have asthma or breathing problems)
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Eyelash growth
- Change in your eye color, the skin around your eyes, or eyelid appearance
If you experience adverse side effects, you should consult your ophthalmologist right away. They may be able to adjust your dosage or recommend a different type of eye drop. You should never quit taking your eye drops without first talking to your ophthalmologist.
Supplemental Glaucoma Medication
If eye drops don’t bring your eye pressure down to the desired level, your doctor may also prescribe an oral carbonic anhydrase inhibitor to supplement your eye drops.