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Diabetic Eye Disease (cont.)

What medications treat diabetic eye disease?

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 and blindness

  • 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 eye drops. Some oral medications may also be prescribed, but their use is rare.

Various types of eye drops are commonly used, and more than one type of eye drop 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 eye drop medications used to treat glaucoma. All of these medications lower intraocular pressure.

  • Prostaglandin eye drops include latanoprost (Xalatan), bimatoprost (Lumigan), travoprost (Travatan), unoprostone (Rescula), and tafluprost (preservative free Zioptan).
  • Beta-blocker eye drops are timolol (Timoptic), levobunolol (Betagan, AKBeta), betaxolol (Betoptic), and carteolol (Ocupress).
  • Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors include the eye drops brinzolamide (Azopt) and dorzolamide (Trusopt), and the oral medications acetazolamide (Diamox) and methazolamide (Neptazane, GlaucTabs). Oral medication is rarely used for an extended period of time because of the side effects.
  • Adrenergic agonists and sympathomimetic eye drops include brimonidine (Alphagan).
  • Sympathomimetic eye drops include dipivefrin (Propine, AKPro), and epinephrine (Eppy, Glaucon, Epinal, Epifrin). These are rarely used today.
  • Miotic eye drops include pilocarpine (Isopto Carpine, Pilocar, Piloptic) and carbachol (Carboptic, Isopto Carbachol). These are rarely used today.
  • Dorzolamide and timolol ophthalmic (Cosopt) is a commonly used eyedrop that combines a beta-blocker (Timolol) with a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, dorzolamide (Trusopt).
  • Brinzolamide and brimonidine (Simbrinza) also combines two medications into a single eye drop, including a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor and an adrenergic agonist.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/13/2016

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