Medicines for Glaucoma

During an eye exam, the doctor may discover damage to the optic nerve that results from a high pressure inside the eye. The optic nerve has the responsibility of transmitting information to the brain, and if a high pressure damages the optic nerve, vision loss may result. Knowing about the different types of glaucoma medications will help a person with glaucoma work with her doctor to find the right treatment regimen.


Eye doctors prescribe beta-blockers more often for glaucoma treatment than other medications, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center. In order to control the eye pressure, these drops reduce the amount of fluid the eye produces, and this works well for most glaucoma patients. As well, this category of medication typically causes less irritation than other glaucoma medications. Some medications in this category include Timolol, Betagan and Betoptic. People considering beta-blocker eye drops should discuss all current medications since these eye drops may interact with some medications, says the University of Maryland Medical Center.


Prostaglandins lower eye pressure by opening channels for the fluid in the eye to drain easier. This category of eye drops may result in a gradual darkening of the eye color. The change happens slowly, only in the eye treated with eye drops, and, with continued use, will eventually turn a dark brown, says the Glaucoma Research Foundation. People using the drops also note thicker, darker eyelashes. Xalatan and Lumigan are two commonly prescribed glaucoma drops in this category.

Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors

Similar to beta-blockers, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors reduce the amount of fluid production in the eye. These drops have a number of possible side effects, including fatigue, eye irritation and loss of appetite, lists the University of Maryland Medical Center. Commonly prescribed eye drops in this category include Trusopt and Azopt.

Adrenergic Agonists

Large pupils increase the outflow of fluid in the eye, and glaucoma drops in the andrenergic agonist category cause the muscles in the iris to dilate the pupils for drainage. Side effects may include surface irritation and changes in taste. Alphagan is one of the common glaucoma drops doctors prescribe from this category.


In comparison to dilated pupils, a small, constricted pupil may slightly shift the iris to open up the drainage canal, allowing fluid to drain. However, constricted pupils limit the amount of light reaching the back of the eye, resulting in difficulty with night driving or seeing well in poor lighting. As a result of the side effects and the number of available glaucoma drops available, doctors do not typically prescribe miotics for glaucoma treatment, says the Cleveland Clinic. If the doctor prescribes a miotic, he will likely recommend Pilocarpine.

About this Author

Kay Rockwell started writing professionally in 2005. She primarily writes articles for LIVESTRONG.COM, focusing on eye-related topics. Rockwell worked as a Certified Ophthalmic Technician for 10 years before she returned to school where she is now working on a master\’s degree in writing while working on her second novel.