Glaucoma Medications

By Louis Schwartz MD

If a drop is prescribed to be used twice a day, that should be every 12 hours. Therefore, if you use it at 8:00am, it should be repeated at 8:00pm. If you decide to use it at 12:00 noon, it should be repeated at 12:00 midnight. Any 12 hour period that is convenient for you is perfectly acceptable.

If the drop is prescribed three times a day, it should be every eight hours. If you sleep more than eight hours, use the drop upon awakening, approximately 2:30 in the afternoon, and again just prior to going to sleep.

If a drop is prescribed four times a day, that should be upon awakening, at lunch, at supper, and before going to bed.

If a drop is prescribed daily, it may be used at any time that is convenient for you, but it should be at the same time each day.

When multiple drops are used in the same eye, it is important to wait at least 10 minutes between drops. Longer is O.K., but they should not be used less than 10 minutes apart.

Whenever using eye drops, after instillation they work best if you keep your eye closed for three minutes without blinking. This allows the solution to be absorbed directly into the eye, and not through the tear duct into the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth. Therefore, if you can keep your eye closed for three minutes after instillation of a drop, you are less likely to get systemic effects from the drops.

When glaucoma medicines are prescribed, we expect that you will use them until your doctor tells you they may be discontinued. If you are running low on drops and need a refill, please call the office for this. However, it is best before each visit to check the number of refills left on your medications and have this information with you when you come to the office. Then, if you will not have enough medicines to last until the next visit, prescriptions may be given to you at the time of your visit, rather than having to call the physician for refills over the phone. However, it is important to always have your medicines on hand, so do not hesitate to call the office for refills, if you are running short.

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About the Author:

The Glaucoma Service Foundation’s mission is to preserve or enhance the health of all people with glaucoma and to provide a model of medical care by supporting the educational and research efforts of the physicians on the Wills Eye Institute Glaucoma Service, the largest glaucoma diagnosis and treatment center in the country.
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