What Is Brimonidine Used For?
Brimonidine is prescribed for lowering eye pressure in people with various eye conditions, such as open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. However, a healthcare provider can also prescribe an "off-label" use of brimonidine to treat angle-closure glaucoma. This eye medicine is approved for use in adults and children as young as two years old.
An Introduction to the Uses of BrimonidineBrimonidine tartrate (Alphagan®) is a prescription eye medication used to lower the pressure in the eyes (known medically as intraocular pressure). Specifically, it is approved to lower eye pressure in people with the following conditions:
- Ocular hypertension (high eye pressure that is not accompanied by changes in vision or damage to the optic nerve, as would happen with glaucoma)
- Open-angle glaucoma.
Not everyone with high eye pressure has glaucoma, although high eye pressure can lead to glaucoma. Effectively treating high eye pressure can help prevent glaucoma.
Glaucoma is actually a group of diseases sharing certain features, such as:
- High pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure)
- Damage to the optic nerve
- Loss of peripheral (side) vision
- Possible blindness.
Of all the different types of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma is by far the most common (see Types of Glaucoma).
Although there is no cure for open-angle glaucoma, symptoms can usually be controlled and further damage may be prevented or reduced. The most common glaucoma treatments are:
- Medications (see Glaucoma Medications)
- Traditional surgery (see Glaucoma Surgery)
- Laser surgery (see Glaucoma Laser Surgery).
Brimonidine can be used by itself or, if necessary, combined with other types of glaucoma medications or treatments.