A wide array of topical medications are used to treat glaucoma, or high pressure in the eye. The skin covering the outer surface of the eye and inside the eyelids provides a quick and efficient spot for drugs to be absorbed into the eye, so many glaucoma drugs come in the form of eye drops.
Drugs used to treat glaucoma include beta blockers, miotics, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, alpha agonists, and prostaglandin analogues. Here are some of the side effects of each one:
- Beta blockers
- Worsening of asthma, bradycardia (slow heart rate), congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, slowed heart beat, masking signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), lethargy, irritability, insomnia, impotence, low blood pressure, reduced exercise tolerance, reduced HDL (good cholesterol). Brand names: Timoptic, Betoptic, Betagan
- Headache, excessive salivation and tearing, sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pulmonary edema, symptoms of shock, slowed heartbeat. Brand names: Pilocarpine, Carbachol
- Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors
- Paresthesia (unusual sensation such as tingling), lethargy, fatigue, anorexia, kidney stones, skin rash, and rarely, aplastic anemia. Brand names: Diamox, Neptazane, Trusopt, Azopt