Alphagan is a medication approved for reducing eye pressure in people with open-angle glaucoma or high eye pressure. It belongs to a group of medications called alpha adrenergic agonists and works by decreasing the amount of fluid produced by the eye and increasing the rate of drainage. Using Alphagan for treating angle-closure glaucoma is considered an off-label use of the eye medication.
What Is Alphagan Used For?Alphagan® (brimonidine tartrate) is a prescription eye medication used to lower the pressure in the eyes (known medically as intraocular pressure). Specifically, it is approved to lower eye pressure in people with the following conditions:
- Ocular hypertension (high eye pressure that is not accompanied by changes in vision or damage to the optic nerve, as would happen with glaucoma)
- Open-angle glaucoma.
Not everyone with high eye pressure has glaucoma, although high eye pressure can lead to glaucoma. Effectively treating high eye pressure can help prevent glaucoma.
Glaucoma is actually a group of diseases sharing certain features, such as:
- High pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure)
- Damage to the optic nerve
- Loss of peripheral (side) vision
- Potential blindness.
Of all the different types of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma is by far the most common (see Types of Glaucoma).
Although there is no cure for open-angle glaucoma, symptoms can usually be controlled and further damage may be prevented or reduced. The most common glaucoma treatments are:
- Medications (see Glaucoma Medications)
- Traditional surgery (see Glaucoma Surgery)
- Laser surgery (see Glaucoma Laser Surgery).
Alphagan can be taken by itself or, if necessary, combined with other types of glaucoma medications or treatments.