Glaucoma - Medications
Some medicines have two different medicines mixed into
one bottle. Examples include Cosopt, which contains both a carbonic anhydrase
inhibitor and a beta-blocker, and Combigan, which contains both an adrenergic
agonist and a beta-blocker.
What to Think About
When medicines are used to treat
glaucoma, the goal is to prevent further damage to the optic nerve by lowering
the pressure in the eyes. The level of pressure in the eye needed to damage the
optic nerve varies from one person to another. For this reason, a single
target eye pressure cannot be used for everyone. Your
target pressure may need to be adjusted if the optic nerve shows further damage
When glaucoma has already caused vision loss,
further vision loss may develop even after the pressure in the eye is lowered
to the normal range with medicine.
In most cases, medicines used
to treat glaucoma must be continued daily for the rest of your life. Putting
eyedrops in the eye at specific times of the day may be inconvenient. Eyedrops
may also cause discomfort. You need to follow the prescribed daily schedule for
your eyedrops in order for them to work properly.
- Discuss the goals of treatment, how long the
medicine will be tried, and the possible side effects with your health
professional. Eye medicines can cause symptoms throughout the body. Report side
effects to your eye doctor.
- Knowing how to correctly insert your
eyedrops can make the medicine work better and may help you avoid side effects.
A medicine card stating which medicines need to be taken at different times of
the day can be helpful in reminding you to take medicines. Use multicolored
bottle caps to help you tell different medicines apart.
- You will
need follow-up visits with your doctor shortly after starting a
new medicine to determine whether it is working as well as it should be and
to discuss any side effects or medicine schedule problems.
Medicines for glaucoma can be expensive. Some
cost-saving tips such as using a measured-dose
dispenser may help.
Let all your doctors know that
you are taking glaucoma medicines. Other medicines that you are taking may need
to be adjusted or stopped to prevent side effects.
While there are
fewer complications from the new surgical procedures for glaucoma, medicine
treatment still usually has fewer side effects than surgery. Many people who
use glaucoma medicines may never need surgery for glaucoma.