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Know the side effects, tell your doctor, and find well-tolerated options.
If you take eye drops for glaucoma, you can lower your pressure and feel comfortable at the same time. The key is to develop a close relationship with your doctor. Speak directly about what’s important to you. And if you have any side effects from a medication, don’t suffer in silence. Be sure to tell your doctor, who will make an individual treatment plan based on your needs, your goals, and which drops work best for you.
Talk to your doctor if you have side effects from these common glaucoma eye drops:
Glaucoma is a chronic, progressive disease that can damage your optic nerve without any symptoms until very late in the disease, so you need to maintain your treatment no matter what. But you don’t need to live with uncomfortable side effects in most cases.
Most doctors will see you 3 to 6 weeks after starting a new medication to make sure the medication is working and is well tolerated. Report side effects to your doctor right away. If you have minor redness and irritation, your doctor might suggest sticking with it to see if your eyes adjust, but if they don’t, your doctor can offer alternatives.
Some changes are simple. For example, if you’re taking generic Brimonidine, the doctor might switch you to brand-name Brimonidine (Alphagan P), which is available in lower concentration with a different preservative and has fewer side effects in many patients. The doctor might also switch to a different class of medication. If you don’t like eye drops or don’t tolerate them, laser treatment or surgery might be right for you depending on your situation.
Your eye doctor will work with you to find the best solution. So keep using your medications, keep all your doctor appointments, communicate openly with your doctor, and keep a positive attitude because you can manage glaucoma comfortably.
Houman Vosoghi, MD is a glaucoma specialist at Dougherty Laser Vision in Los Angeles, California.
Last reviewed on November 19, 2019