The dangers of glaucoma

Glaucoma represents a group of diseases that affect the ability to see. Typically stemming from an increase in eye pressure, the ailment damages the optic nerve that sends information to the brain. These nerves die over time, leading to loss of sight around the outside of vision before working inward. If left unchecked, glaucoma can lead to permanent blindness in one or both eyes.

What’s it do for me?

The increase in tension inside the eye occurs as fluid inside gets trapped. Drainage channels become blocked, but the eye continues to produce more fluid to deliver nutrients to essential components. To alleviate the issue, eye doctors can prescribe eye drops so the problem doesn’t intensify. Different types of drops can address the situation in different ways. Each group also has unique side effects to consider.

Prostaglandin analogs

Prostaglandin analogs help reopen occluded drainage passageways for fluid. This allows fluid to flow freely from the eye again in hopes of bringing pressure back to a safe level. While a very effective treatment option, these medications can have adverse reactions. Some side effects include: Redness of the eye, darkening of the iris, darkening of the skin around the eye, and eyelash growth.

Beta blockers

Beta blockers reduce the amount of fluid the eye creates. This lowers the overall amount of fluid inside the eye, keeping pressures to a safe level. Also very effective, this family of medications similarly has side effects to consider: Reduced blood pressure, slower heart rate, difficulty breathing, lower sex drive, and fatigue.

Alpha-adrenergic agonists

These drops work to both reduce fluid production and increase outflow through drainage channels. The most common side effects are as follows: Itchy eyes, burning sensation, low blood pressure, and drowsiness.

Carbonic anhydrous inhibitors

Carbonic anhydrous inhibitors are related to the sulfa family of antibiotics. The medication reduces eye pressure by lowering the production of eye fluid. These can be available in drop or pill form. In either case, the side effects are the same: Blurred vision, stinging and burning eyes, and bitter taste

Benefits are not apparent

Glaucoma is often referred to as a silent thief of vision, as the disease typically has no side effects. If left to cause harm, the condition will consume sight until nothing is left. Any vision lost to glaucoma is permanent. Even though eye medications may not appear to cause any benefit, each drop helps to keep clear sight. To maximize chances for success, be sure to use drops correctly.

Keep it clean

Hands should be clean before administering any drops into the eye. Don’t let fingers touch the tip of the bottle. Similarly, the dropper should never come in contact with any other object. When using the bottle, keep the tip about an inch away from the eye to avoid contamination.

Have to stick the landing

When using eye drops, start with the head tilted backward. Look up toward the ceiling and slightly pull down the lower eyelid to form a pocket. Squeeze one drop into the pocket, being careful not to blink or touch the eye. Close the eye gently for three minutes so the drop can get absorbed.

Doctor’s orders

Generally speaking, leave 5 to 10 minutes between eye drops so the effects aren’t negated. Eye drops will need to be used frequently to be effective, so use each one as the doctor requests. The ophthalmologist should always have the final word with instructions for keeping glaucoma at bay.