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Diabetic Eye Disease (cont.)


The most important method of preventing eye disease related to diabetes is to maintain strict control of blood sugar. High blood pressure and high lipid or cholesterol levels must also be treated to decrease damage to the blood vessels within the eye.

Diabetic retinopathy

  • The most common problem with the most potential to cause blindness is diabetic retinopathy.

  • Currently, effective oral medications or eye drops do not exist to directly treat diabetic retinopathy, and surgery (for example, laser) is the treatment of choice.

  • Investigational drugs by injection around the eye or taken orally are currently being studied to determine their effectiveness in preventing and treating diabetic retinopathy.


  • Depending on the type of glaucoma, treatment may include medications and/or surgery. Intraocular pressure usually can be lowered using different medications in the form of eyedrops. Some oral medications may also be prescribed, but their use is rare.

  • Various types of eyedrops are commonly used, and more than one type of eyedrop is often needed to lower intraocular pressure. Beta-adrenergic blocking agents, prostaglandins, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, alpha-adrenergic agents, miotics, and sympathomimetic drugs are examples of eyedrop medications used to treat glaucoma. All of these medications lower intraocular pressure.

  • Prostaglandin eyedrops include latanoprost (Xalatan), bimatoprost (Lumigan), travoprost (Travatan), and unoprostone (Rescula).

  • Beta-blocker eyedrops are timolol (Timoptic), levobunolol (Betagan, AKBeta), betaxolol (Betoptic), and carteolol (Ocupress).

  • Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors include the eyedrops brinzolamide (Azopt) and dorzolamide (Trusopt), and the oral medications acetazolamide (Diamox) and methazolamide (Neptazane, GlaucTabs).

  • Adrenergic and sympathomimetic eyedrops include brimonidine (Alphagan), apraclonidine (Iopidine), dipivefrin (Propine, AKPro), and epinephrine (Eppy, Glaucon, Epinal, Epifrin).

  • Miotic eyedrops include pilocarpine (Isopto Carpine, Pilocar, Piloptic) and carbachol (Carboptic, Isopto Carbachol).

  • Cosopt is a commonly used eyedrop that combines a beta-blocker (Timolol) with a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, dorzolamide (Trusopt).

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