Eye drops for high eye pressure

Eye drops for high eye pressure form the mainstay of most people’s individualised treatment plan. There are 4 main families of drops and huge advances in drug technology and formulation mean that we have very effective pressure reduction from one bottle of treatment.

The decision to prescribe eye drops every day for life is not one to be undertaken lightly in my opinion. When a glaucoma diagnosis is made this means that life-long pressure reduction is needed. I often see patients who have been started on drop treatment and they assume (in error) that when the drops run out they don’t need a repeat prescription or that when the eye pressure is measured on treatment and it is in the target range that the problem has gone away meaning the drops are no longer necessary.

As a glaucoma specialist, I often read clinical papers on ‘adherence and compliance’ with treatment. This means how closely people stick to the prescribed drop treatment plan. Less that 50% of people take their drops as prescribed putting them at risk of irreversible blindness.

The reasons for not sticking to the drop schedule are varied; some people forget, some can’t physically squeeze the bottle of drops, some find the drops irritate their eyes and some just don’t want to take them.

If you think that you are struggling with using glaucoma drops for whatever reason please discuss this with your specialist. We are usually able to find a suitable alternative or another treatment plan that is effective and that you find easier to stick to. You will not be the only one who has found the drops difficult or uncomfortable. Finding the right treatment for you as an individual is really important.

More about Laura Crawley

Ms Laura Crawley is a Consultant Ophthalmologist at Clinica London, Imperial College Western Eye Hospital, and The London Clinic. Her special expertise is in treating glaucoma patients as well as patients with glaucoma and cataracts. She has a lot of experience in treating glaucoma and has published extensively in scientific journals and on medical education. She still does a lot of emergency operations at the emergency department at the Charing Cross and Western Eye Hospitals for the NHS. At Clinica London, she is responsible for glaucoma patients and glaucoma patients with cataracts. She also sees patients with general eye problems.