Ocular hypertension or Intraocular pressure (IOP) is a condition in which your eye pressure gets higher than the average level. If left untreated, IOP can lead to glaucoma and permanent loss of vision. 3 to 6 million Americans are at risk of suffering from glaucoma due to high Eye pressure. Therefore you need to be well-informed about its causes, diagnosis and treatment.
A lot of treatments today are designed to lower or control intraocular pressure (IOP), which may damage the optic nerve that transfers visual information to your brain.
Glaucoma eye drops are usually the first option over glaucoma surgery which may be quite effective at controlling IOP to prevent eye damage. If you are an eligible candidate for glaucoma eye drops, you may be prescribed more than one type to achieve the best IOP control.
However, you may not be eligible due to your specific individual health condition. Because any medication placed in the eye is absorbed into the conjunctival blood vessels on the eye’s surface. A small amount is bound to enter the bloodstream and adversely affect your heart rate and breathing.
Certain types of eye drops may worsen certain medical conditions of yours such as asthma, and certain glaucoma medicines may also interact with other common medications such as asthma.
Some experimental glaucoma medications explore new ways of controlling IOP, other treatments are intended to protect the optic nerve (neuroprotection) to prevent eye damage, potential vision loss or even blindness.
How Beta Blockers Work
Beta Blockers decrease the pressure inside your eyes by reducing how much fluid (aqueous humor) is produced in the eyes. Reducing pressure in the eyes, slows down optic nerve damage which greatly decreases the rate of vision loss.
Types of Beta Blockers
There are two classes of Beta Blockers which are non-selective and selective:
These are the 5 Non-Selective Beta Blockers:
- Timolol Hemihydrate (Betimol)
- Carteolol (Ocupress)
- Metipranolol (Optipranolol)
- Timolol Maleate (Timoptic) and Timolol Maleate Gel (Timoptic XE)
All of the above are used alone or with other prescribed medication to treat high pressure inside the eye due to glaucoma or other eye diseases. Lowering the high pressure inside the eyes helps prevent blindness.
Selective Beta Blockers
This is the only selective Beta Blocker that is used to treat high blood pressure. It has a better safety profile as compared to the non-selective Beta Blockers, particularly in terms of breathing symptoms. The eye pressure lowering effect is also slightly less with selective beta blockers.
Beta Blocker Medications/ Treatment
- Alpha-Adrenergic Agonists
This medication works by decreasing the rate of aqueous humor production and may be used alone, or other anti-glaucoma eye drops. FDA-approved medications at this level include Lopidine, Alphagan, and Alphagan-P.
- Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors
This medication works by reducing the rate of aqueous humor production. They are mostly used in combination with other anti-glaucoma and not alone. This drug is also used in oral form. FDA approved eye drops in this category include Trusopt and Azopt.
This medication works by increasing the outflow of aqueous humor from the eye. Mostly used to control the IOP in narrow-angle glaucoma. These type of eye drops cause your pupils to constrict, which assists in opening the narrowed or blocked angles where drainage occurs.
This type of drug has a dual effect on your eye and work by decreasing the rate of aqueous humor production and increasing the outflow of aqueous humor from the eye.
- Hyperosmotic Agents
This drug is usually for people with a severely high IOP that must be reduced immediately before permanent; irreversible damage occurs to your optic nerve. For this reason alone, some ophthalmic pharmaceutical companies have produced “combination” eye drops that can include different anti-glaucoma medicines in the same bottle.
Side Effects of Beta Blockers
Most medicines have side effects so just to be clear, ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you consume. But mostly the benefits of the medicine are a lot more important than any minor side effects.
- Stinging, aching, or redness in the eyes after using any eye drops
- A slower heartbeat
- Feel tired, dizzy, off-balance, confused or depressed.
There are a number of people suffering from glaucoma. Unfortunately there is no cure for this eye disease, but the good news is that it can be controlled through medication. The glaucoma treatment primarily focuses on lowering the IOP (intraocular pressure) to a level that doesn’t cause optic nerve damage. Elevated IOP damages the optic nerve significantly, which is why containing the pressure is critical. The pressure to be achieved is known as the ‘target pressure’ or ‘goal pressure.’ This varies from one person to the other, and it may change during the course of treatment.
The ophthalmologist will study your glaucoma symptoms and prescribe the medication accordingly to lower the pressure on your eye. In the recent years, there has been an increase in the choices for topical treatment of glaucoma – prostaglandin analogs and prostamides being two of them. A prostaglandin analog medication is a preferred choice of many doctors for treating any kind of glaucoma, including congenital glaucoma.
How Do Prostaglandin Analogs or Prostamides Work
These medicines increase the outflow of aqueous humor, thus lowering the intraocular pressure. Aqueous humor is a fluid that the eye continually makes and is crucial for proper functioning of eye. These medications should be taken once a day.
What Kind of Medication Do Prostaglandin Analogs Include
These medications comprises of:
- Latanoprost (Xalatanâ)
- Bimatoprost (Lumiganâ)
- Travoprost (Travatanâ)
Possible Side Effects of These Medications
Though most medications, including eye-drops, are safe to use – some may have side-effects. People may experience the following symptoms as side-effects:
- Redness of the eye
- Darkened or brown iris. The change gets noticeable only after a few months or years
- Irritation or itching in the eye
- Blurry vision
- Increased growth, thickness and pigmentation of the eyelashes
- Muscle aches and headaches though they are rare
- Darkening of the eyelid skin
It is advised that people with a history of eye problems such as uveitis, history of retinal swelling or ocular herpes infection use these medications with caution. If you suffer or have suffered from any kind of eye ailments, discuss with your doctor before proceeding with any kind of treatment for glaucoma treatment. It is important that you take your glaucoma medications regularly as prescribed for them to show the desired results.
Before you start taking any medication that your ophthalmologist prescribes, you should understand certain things.
- The name of the medication
- How the medicine should be ingested or applied
- Frequency of medication
- The right manner to store it
- Possible side effects that you might face
- How to address these side effects, if you experience any
- What should be done if you miss a dose
How will these medications react with the medication of a different treatment you might be on. It is of utmost importance that your doctors know about the different medications that are prescribed to you. Include the non-prescription medications as well. This will help them in planning the appropriate treatment plan for you, without any risk of threatening medical problems or side effects.
If you or a loved one is suffering from glaucoma, then it is advisable to visit a doctor immediately to control the condition before it worsens any further. Even if you don’t have glaucoma right now but your family has a history of this ailment, you should get regular check-ups to detect it in the early stages. Once you are on medications, you have to be disciplined about taking them without fail. Make an appointment with InSight Vision Center and get a consultation today.
An Early Diagnosis And Timely Treatment Can Prevent The Primary Cause Of Blindness – Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a fatal disease that strikes the optic nerve, causing irreversible damage to eyesight that eventually leads to blindness.Roughly, 2.7 million people in the U.S.A have glaucoma and it is estimated that these figures would go up to 4.2 million by 2030. Owing to the serious damage it may cause to the eyes, it is advised that you get a comprehensive dilated eye test done every 1-2 years.Your ophthalmologist may prescribe drops or pills to prevent permanent impairment. However, if medications do not achieve the desired results, you might have to get surgically operated.
Factors That Increase The Chances of Glaucoma:
Generally, glaucoma can occur to anyone, irrespective of age and gender. However, there are certain factors that increase the chances. These are:
- Aging: Increasing age is directly proportionate to the chances of developing glaucoma in a person. People over the age of 60 years are six times more likely to develop glaucoma.
- Family History: People with family members who have suffered from glaucoma in the past are at a greater risk. Family history of glaucoma increases the risk by 4 to 9 times.
- Ethnicity: Ethnicity plays a major role for developing glaucoma. For instance, people with Latino or African ancestry have a higher tendency for developing primary open-angle glaucoma as against people of other races. People of Asian descent are highly prone to developing normal-tension glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma.
- Other Risk Factors: Other potential risk factors that lead to development of glaucoma include eye injury, eye surgery, or severe near-sightedness. Medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure also make the eye more vulnerable to develop glaucoma. Further, regular and long-term use of steroid or cortisone increases the risk for open-angle glaucoma.
Don’t Let Glaucoma Destroy Your Vision – An Early Detection Can Save Your Eyesight
Glaucoma develops slowly over time. It does not carry any symptoms or any noticeable vision loss. Almost 40 percent of your vision can be lost without you noticing it. Blind spots start developing gradually in the peripheral or side vision, as the disease progresses. By the time these spots come to your notice, the optic nerve has already been damaged significantly and the worst part is; this damage is irreparable!
For this very reason, early detection and treatment are the only defense systems to control the disease and prevent any loss in vision. The most common treatment of glaucoma is the administration of medicated eye drops to lower eye pressure and enhance vision. By controlling the eye pressure, continued damage to the optic nerve can be slowed down and further vision loss can be prevented.
An early diagnosis and treatment can save your eyesight! Since the year 1980, advances in treatment have reduced the possibility of eventual blindness by nearly half. Despite the advanced treatments available today, there is no sure shot guarantee. 15 percent of the people diagnosed with this disease still progress to blindness. Do not ignore the risk factors of glaucoma if you do not want to fall in that 15 percent. Instead, visit InSight Vision Center to get your eyes checked regularly and if diagnosed with this disease, visit the nearest eye care center in Fresno, CA to get your treatment initiated at the earliest.