Glaucoma & Cataract, Prof. Eytan Blumenthal | Alphagan and alpha-agonists for the treatment of glaucoma

Alphagan

How the Medication Works:
Lowers intra-ocular pressure by reducing the amount of fluid (aqueous humor) secreted in the eye as well as by increasing drainage of the fluid out of the eye. Since less fluid is produced and more fluid is eliminated, the pressure in the eye is reduced.
Directions for Taking the Medication:
One eye-drop, twice a day (morning and evening). In certain cases the medication is given 3 times a day.
Advantages of this Medication:
Few systemic side-effects (however, numerous local side-effects affecting the surface of the eye).
Family of Medication:
Alpha-agonists.
Side-effects:
May cause dry-mouth, fatigue, and redness of the eyes due to allergy. Should an allergic reaction develop in the eye, this medication will need to be discontinued. If this occurs, consult your ophthalmologist. Allergic reactions from Alphagan manifest as redness of the eye, itching, pain and soreness, puffy eye-lids and redness and crusting of the skin of the lower lid. It is important to note that Alphagan allergy does not usually start soon after commencing treatment, but often shows up for the first time only 6-12 months after starting treatment. At this point in time many patients do not associate the allergy with the therapy that was started a long time ago.
Additional Information:
Similarly to beta-blockers, these drops reduce intra-ocular pressure by decreasing the production of aqueous humor. It was found that Alphagan also somewhat assists the drainage of fluid. Occasionally, after being used for a few months, this medication may cause irritation of the eye (redness and itching) which is a localized allergy of the eye. It seems that these drops do not have significant systemic effects except for dry-mouth and fatigue in some patients. If an allergic reaction of the eyes develops the medication should be discontinued and your eye-doctor consulted.

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