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Eye Medications

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Most Eye Medications are in the form of an eye drop or an ointment.

Eye Drops

Eye drops are more common, but ointments may last longer, provide more lubrication, or be easier to administer in some cases.

TYPES OF EYE MEDICATIONS

ANTIBIOTICS
ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES
GLAUCOMA MEDICATIONS
ANTIVIRALS
ANTI-ALLERGY MEDICATIONS

ANTIBIOTICS

Antibiotics are generally used to treat, or sometimes to prevent a bacterial eye infection.  Just as with antibiotic pills, certain antibiotics are more effective against certain bacteria, and sometimes an infection that cannot be cured with one medication may be eliminated by another.  Examples of common antibiotics used in the eye are sulfacetamide, erythromycin, gentamicin, tobramycin, ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin.

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ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES

Anti-inflammatories reduce inflammation, which in the eye is usually manifest by pain, redness, light sensitivity and sometimes blurred vision.   Anti-inflammatories can be either corticosteroids or non-steroidals.

Corticosteroids(sometimes referred to as "steroids") are similar to a natural substance produced by the adrenal gland and are very effective anti-inflammatories for a wide variety of eye problems. (They are not the same as anabolic steroids sometimes used by athletes to build muscle mass.)  Corticosteroids can be safely used in the eye, and do not carry most of the risks associated with oral steroids like prednisone.  However, patients should always be monitored by an eye doctor while using them, because they may cause glaucoma or increase the risk of eye infections in certain cases.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are the eye equivalent of eye medications like ibuprofen, an oral non-steroidal.  They may also be very useful in reducing inflammation and decreasing eye pain, though they are usually not as potent as cortisteroids.

COMMON CORTICOSTEROIDS

COMMON NON-STEROIDALS

Prednisolone

Fluorometholone

Dexamethasone

Diclofenac

Ketorolac

Flurbiprofen

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              GLAUCOMA MEDICATIONS

Eye Drop Placement

Glaucoma medications all attempt to reduce the eye's intraocular pressure, the fluid pressure inside the eye, to prevent damage to the optic nerve resulting in loss of vision. 

These medications may lower pressure by decreasing the amount of fluid produced in the eye, by increasing the amount of fluid exiting through the eye's natural drain, or by providing additional pathways for fluid to leave the eye.  Often more than one glaucoma medication will be used simultaneously, as these effects can combine to lower pressure even further than possible with one medicine alone.

Common Glaucoma Medications

BETABLOCKERS
Timolol
Metipranolol
Carteolol
Betaxolol
Levobunolol

ALPHA AGONISTS
Brimonidine
Iopidine

PROSTAGLANDIN ANALOGUES
Latanoprost

CARBONIC ANHYDRASE INHIBITORS
Dorzolamide

CHOLINERGIC AGONISTS
Pilocarpine
Carbachol

ADENERGIC AGONISTS
Epinephrine
Dipivefrin

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ANTIVIRALS

Used primarily in treating herpes virus infections of the eye, antiviral eye medications may be used in conjunction with oral medications for elimination the virus.  The most common type of antiviral is triflurthymidine.  Other include adenine arabinoside and idoxuridine.

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ANTI-ALLERGY MEDICATIONS

All prescription anti-allergy eyedrops decrease the effects of histamine, which creates, itching, swelling, redness, and watering in the eye.  They may work either by preventing the release of histamine in the body, or by blocking its effect after it is released.  Common anti-allergy medicines include livostin, patanol, cromolyn, alomide.  There are also non-prescription antihistamines for the eye, which are less potent but can be very helpful in milder case, such as pheniramine.

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