Glaucoma Medications Can Help Protect Eyesight

Glaucoma Medications - Salt Lake City, UT

Dec 4, 2017 @ 01:51 PM — by Dr. David Masihdas
Tagged with: Glaucoma | Eye Care |

Glaucoma is an eye condition in which the optic nerve becomes damaged over time, most often as a result of a buildup of pressure within the eye. If intraocular pressure is not reduced, the optic nerve can become permanently damaged and eventually cause blindness. Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma, but with early detection and treatment, the condition can be managed and vision preserved. Dr. David Masihdas helps patients with glaucoma protect their eyesight through a variety of treatment options, including glaucoma medications, at his Salt Lake City, UT practice.

A woman being given glaucoma medication eyedrops

Treatment for glaucoma often begins with medicated eyedrops. Medicated eyedrops can help protect the optic nerve by reducing pressure within the eyes either by encouraging the release of fluid from the eyes, inhibiting the production of fluid within the eyes, or both. When medicated eyedrops are used to treat the early stages of glaucoma, the progression of the disease may be slowed, alleviating the need for more invasive treatments. There are many different types of medicated eyedrops that may be prescribed for treating glaucoma. 


Prostaglandins help reduce intraocular pressure by increasing the outflow of fluid from the eye. There are different types of prostaglandins, including bimatoprost and latanoprost. Some patients may experience side effects when using eyedrops with prostaglandins. Possible side effects include blurred vision, mild stinging of the eyes, or mild reddening of the eyes, as well as changes in the color of the eyelids or eyelashes, or darkening of the iris. 

Beta Blockers

Beta blockers help lower pressure within the eye by reducing the amount of the fluid produced within the eye. Some types of beta blockers used for treating glaucoma include timolol and betaxolol. When using beta blockers to treat glaucoma, patients may experience some side effects, including low blood pressure, slow heart rate, impotence, fatigue, and difficulty breathing.

Alpha-Adrenergic Agonists

Alpha-adrenergic agonists act like a combination of prostaglandins and beta blockers, reducing both the production of fluid within the eye, called the aqueous humor, and increasing the outflow. The different types of alpha-adrenergic agonists include apraclonidine and brimonidine. Some possible side effects patients should be aware of include high blood pressure, fatigue, dry mouth, and irregular heart rate. Alpha-adrenergic agonists may also cause the eyes to become red, itchy, or swollen.

Miotic or Cholinergic Agents

Miotic or cholinergic agents may also be used to treat glaucoma. Eyedrops with miotic or cholinergic agents help reduce pressure within the eye by increasing the fluid outflow. Pilocarpine is an example of this type of medication. Patients may experience some side effects from these medications, including vision changes, such as blurred or dim vision, or nearsightedness.

Oral Medications

For some people with glaucoma, eyedrops alone may not sufficiently bring down pressure within the eye. In such cases, oral medications may be prescribed. A carbonic anhydrase inhibitor may be given orally to further reduce pressure within the eye. Some side effects may include upset stomach, tingling sensation in the toes and fingers, increased urination, depression, and kidney stones. 

Discover Your Treatment Options

If you have glaucoma, it is important to seek treatment to protect your vision. With medicated eyedrops, it may be possible to lower pressure within the eyes and prevent damage to the optic nerve. To learn more about your treatment options for glaucoma, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Masihdas.