Alphagan Eye Drop

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Alphagan Eye Drops (brimonidine) are an alpha agonist used to treat ocular hypertension or open-angle glaucoma. Both conditions involve high pressure in the eye. There is no cure for open-angle glaucoma, but its progression can be slowed or halted with Alphagan Eye Drops. Ocular hypertension, if untreated, may lead to glaucoma.

This product is suitable in ages 2 and up, though younger patients under age 12 may need modified dosing and will require close monitoring.

Understanding Eye Pressure

Intraocular pressure (IOP) is maintained by a continuous flow of aqueous humour, produced by the eye's ciliary body. In normally-functioning eyes, the aqueous humour drains through the trabecular meshwork. In ocular hypertension and glaucoma, the draining of aqueous humour is impaired. This leads to pressure building in the eye, though there may not be any symptoms until vision loss.

Note that, while high IOP is a precursor to glaucoma, many patients with high IOP never develop glaucoma. However, it's still a good idea to treat the condition---once glaucoma causes vision loss, it cannot be restored.

Risk factors that make high IOP or glaucoma more likely include:

  • Family history of high IOP or glaucoma
  • Diabetes
  • Black or Latino lineage
  • Severe nearsightedness

As the condition rarely produces side effects, patients should attend regular vision exams---especially over age 40. Additionally managing contributing conditions, such as diabetes, will help reduce the odds of developing the condition.

Alphagan Eye Drops reduce the amount of aqueous humour that filters into the eye while improving drainage, thus reducing pressure. This medication may be given on its own or in combination with other treatments, such as a prostaglandin analog like Travatan, a beta-blocker, or other medications. These medications may be given separately, in which case at least 5 minutes should pass between administration, or together in a combined eye drop.

Using Alphagan Eye Drops

Alphagan Eye Drops are easy to use; simply apply one drop to each affected eye three times per day, as close to 8 hours apart as possible.

Soft contacts should be removed prior to application and kept out for at least 15 minutes after application.

Each vial of Alphagan Eye Drops includes a dropper. The dropper should not touch anything---not hands, eyes, or any surface---to prevent contamination to the eyes or the remaining fluid in the vial.

As a general rule, once opened, any Alphagan Eye Drop fluid remaining after four weeks should be discarded as it is assumed to be contaminated. However, many patients don't do this and continue to use it. Doing so is a personal decision; if the dropper has touched anything, it might not be a bad a idea to start a new vial.

Eyes may burn or sting a little when the medication is first applied. As long as it's not severe or persistant this isn't a concern. In many cases this will stop happening after the first few doses.

Warnings & Side Effects

Even though Alphagan Eye Drops are administered to the eye, they can cause systemic side effects. Certain patients are a greater risk of these adverse reactions, including those who have:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Decreased blood supply to the heart or brain
  • Low blood pressure
  • Narrowing of blood vessels in hands, legs, or feet
  • Kidney or liver impairment
  • Depression or other mental disorder

Patients with the above may be able to use Alphagan Eye Drops, but will require extra monitoring and be alert for symptoms that the conditions are worsening.

Those who are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or tricyclic antidepressants should not take Alphagan Eye Drops.

Most side effects are mild and not cause for concern. Rarely more serious side effects develop, which warrant medical attention:

  • Eye pain
  • Rapid, slow, or irregular heartbeat
  • Conjunctival follicles (fluid-filled sacs in the eye)
  • Blepharitis (inflammation of eyelids)
  • Photophobia (aversion to light)
  • Corneal erosion

The effects of Alphagan Eye Drops on unborn or nursing babies are unclear. Mothers should discuss potential risks with a doctor before use.

Alphagan Eye Drop

0.1%-5ml brimonidine  Buy Alphagan Eye Drop 3 Pak - $59.99
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Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional.

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