Glaucoma Home > Glaucoma Medications

There are many types of medications that can be used for glaucoma, such as beta-blockers, miotics, and adrenergic agonists. These drugs work by either slowing the flow of fluid into the eye or by helping to improve fluid drainage. Medications can effectively stop the progress of the eye condition; however, as the eye develops tolerance to the medicine, it may be necessary to increase dosages as needed.

Medications for Glaucoma: An Overview

Glaucoma medicines are designed to either reduce pressure by slowing the flow of fluid into the eye or help to improve fluid drainage.
 
While these drugs can effectively stop the progress of glaucoma, increasing dosages may be needed as the eye develops tolerance to the medication.
 
Medications to treat glaucoma are serious medicine, not to be confused with over-the-counter eye drops for easing common eye irritations. In order to control the disease, glaucoma drugs are taken for life.
 
There are several different classes of medicine used for glaucoma (available in the form of pills or eye drops). Some of these classes of medications include:
 
  • Beta-blockers
  • Miotics
  • Adrenergic agonists
  • Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors.
     
Beta-Blockers
The most popular glaucoma medication, Timoptic® (timolol maleate) is a beta-blocker eye drop. Usually taken twice daily, beta-blockers decrease production of aqueous humor.
 
These medicines may have side effects on the nerves, digestion, vision, skin, respiration, and heart of some individuals. Side effects may include:
 
Miotics
Timoptic has a century-old predecessor, pilocarpine, that requires more frequent use to do its job, increasing drainage of aqueous fluid in both open and closed angle glaucoma. Pilocarpine is a miotic, designed to increase aqueous fluid drainage. Because these glaucoma medications work by making the pupil smaller, they can result in dim vision and may increase the risk of cataracts.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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