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Glaucoma medications are often used to lower inner eye pressure. Your glaucoma specialist may recommend eyedrops that are only available by prescription. These work by helping your eye drainage canals drain more fluid or by reducing the amount of fluid made by your eyes.

The types of glaucoma eyedrops are listed in the chart below.

Glaucoma at a Glance: Prescription Eyedrops

Your glaucoma specialist may prescribe any of these medications to help control your glaucoma. It is very important to follow the directions for how to use the eye drops and when to take them.

Type of Medicine Examples by Scientific Name
Eyedrops Used to Decrease Eye Fluids
Alpha-adrenergic Agonists Apraclonidine, brimonidine
Beta Blockers Betaxolol, timolol
Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors (These may also be prescribed as an oral medication) Brinzolamide, dorzolamide
Rho kinase inhibitors Netarsudil
Eyedrops Used to Increase Drainage
Prostaglandins (most often used) Bimatoprost, latanoprost, ltanoprostene bunod, tafluprost, travoprost
Cholinergic Agents (sometimes used) Pilocarpine, carbachol

Glaucoma surgery also may be recommended to lower inner eye pressure by improving drainage of eye fluids. The types of procedures are listed in the chart below.

Glaucoma at a Glance: Types of Glaucoma Surgery

Procedure What is Done
Drainage Tube Surgery A tiny tube is placed in your eye to drain away extra fluid to control pressure
Filtering Surgery (Trabeculectomy) A tiny hole is made in the white of the eye and a tiny portion of spongy tissue is removed from the front of the eye to allow extra eye fluid to filter out
Laser Surgery (Laser Trabeculoplasty) A laser is used to open clogged drainage channels
XEN ® Glaucoma Treatment System A tiny tube no wider than a human hair is implanted in the eye within minutes to help drain fluids

Medication and surgery may be used together to treat and manage glaucoma. A variety of advanced glaucoma treatments have been approved or are in testing. You are most likely to find them at a glaucoma center of excellence.

In future blogs, we share more about the rarer types of glaucoma and new developments in glaucoma treatments.

The goal of this series of weekly blogs is to help you feel informed and confident, wherever you are in learning about glaucoma.

Visit weekly to learn more.

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