Two forms of medication are used to treat glaucoma: eyedrops and oral drugs. Eyedrops are the most common medication for glaucoma. In general, eyedrops are applied one to four times a day on a regular schedule. Five types of eyedrops are currently used: beta blockers, topical prostaglandins, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, adrenergic agonists, and miotics.
Drops can cause local side effects such as burning, stinging, tearing, itching, or redness in the eye. Because some of the drug is absorbed into the body, systemic side effects may occur but are less common than with oral medications. One example of a common side effect is that beta blocker eyedrops can lower blood pressure at the same time as they lower IOP.
Systemic side effects can be minimized by carefully following instructions for using eyedrops, including placing a finger on the inside corner of the eye for two to three minutes to prevent the eyedrops from entering the nasal ducts.
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