Eye drops and medications for glaucoma

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As an eye disease damaging the optic never, glaucoma is definitely one of the most scarring ocular problems. Patients with this disease will suffer serious vision loss gradually. How to treat it effectively becomes the most common question issued by nearly all glaucoma patients. One point is closely related that glaucoma is often associated with increased pressure of the fluid in the eye. In other words, glaucoma patients have a relatively higher intraocular pressure (IOP). And a majority of treatments for glaucoma try to control and even lower this high pressure.

Eye drops for IOP control

In most cases, glaucoma eye drops are enough to control intraocular pressure (IOP) and prevent eye damage. Glaucoma surgeries are always expensive and involve certain complications. For good candidates, the doctor may prescribe more than one type of drops so as to get a best effect. These eye drops can bring down a high IOP. According to their active ingredient chemical, glaucoma eye drops can be divided into several types.

Beta-blockers and alpha-adrenergic agonists

Beta-blockers such as Timoptic XE, Istalol and Betopic S can reduce the production of eye fluids. They are used as an adjunct to prostaglandins. Alpha-adrenergic agonists including Iopidine, Alphagan and Alphagan-P work by eliminating the rate of eye fluid production. Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors such as Trusopt and Azopt perform in a same way.

Eye drops that contain prostaglandins

Eye drops containing prostaglandins require only one time of administration every day. Prostaglandins in the drops can relax the eye’s interior muscles and provide better fluids flow. Xalatan, Lumigan, Travatan Z, and Rescula are some of the prostaglandins that have received a FDA approval. However, they may bring side effects such as stinging, burning, eye color change and so on.

Hyperosmotic agents and Epinephrine

Hyperosmotic agents are for severe glaucoma. They can reduce the fluid volume in the eye immediately. Parasympathomimetics perform by increasing the outflow of eye fluids from the eye and they are usually used to control narrow-angle glaucoma. Epinephrine is more powerful, which can both reduce eye fluids production and increase their drainage. Combinations of different medications are also FDA-approved for certain glaucoma patients.

Treatments that are under clinical trials

Also aiming at controlling high IOP, some investigational treatments are available, such as Latanoprost Punctal Plug Delivery System, Retaane and Nanoparticles. There are also many investigational glaucoma treatments dealing with optic nerve protection. Various neuroprotective agents are under clinical trials to prove safety and effectiveness. Namenda has been shown to prevent shrinkage of visual nerve cells in the presence of glaucoma. Copaxone may be proved to protect the optic nerve against direct toxic effects brought by high IOP. Gingko biloba is also indicated to protect optic nerve in the eye.

Precautions are necessary

It is worth mentioning that glaucoma eye drops are not perfect. They may exclude some patients with certain medical conditions. Medications placed in the eye will be absorbed into conjunctival blood vessels and enter the bloodstream, so that heart rate and breathing can be affected. Certain eye drops for glaucoma treatment can interact with other medications such as digitalis. It is important to consult your doctor about these issues.