Glaucoma can sometimes be controlled by topical medications (eye drops), or by oral medications. These medications assist the outflow of fluid or may decrease the amount of fluid produced within the eyes. All eye drops and oral medications have potential side effects.
Medical treatment for glaucoma often begins with medicated eyedrops. Your doctor may prescribe more than one type of eyedrop at a time, and it is very important to use them exactly as prescribed. The most commonly prescribed medicated eyedrops for glaucoma are:
Prostaglandins: Used to treat open-angle glaucoma, these include latanoprost (Xalatan) and bimatoprost (Lumigan). Possible side effects include blurred vision, mild reddening and stinging of the eyes and darkening of the iris.
Beta blockers: Including timolol (Betimol, Timoptic) and betaxolol (Betoptic). Beta blockers may not be prescribed if you have lung or heart conditions. Possible side effects include difficulty breathing, slowed heart rate, lower blood pressure, impotence and fatigue.
Alpha-adrenergic agonists: Including apraclonidine (Iopidine) and brimonidine (Alphagan). Possible side effects include irregular heart rate, high blood pressure, fatigue, red, itchy or swollen eyes, and dry mouth.
Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors: Including dorzolamide (Trusopt) and brinzolamide (Azopt). Possible side effects include frequent urination and tingling in the fingers and toes.
Miotic or cholinergic agents: Including pilocarpine (Isopto Carpine) and carbachol (Isopto Carbachol). Possible side effects include smaller pupils, blurred or dim vision, or nearsightedness.
In some cases, an oral medication, usually a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, may be prescribed to reduce your eye pressure. Side effects may include frequent urination, tingling in the fingers and toes, depression, upset stomach and kidney stones.