What is it?
Medication taken orally usually in tablet form for lowering intraocular pressure. Acetazolamide is usually used in emergency high eye pressure situations where eye drops are incapable of adequately lowering the eye pressure.
Often used as a short term measure for controlling very high intraocular pressure prior to more definitive treatment such as laser treatment or glaucoma surgery
How does it work?
It reduces the amount of fluid known as aqueous humour that the eye secretes into itself resulting in a reduction in eye pressure
Who is it suitable for?
Adults with very high intraocular pressure who need rapid lowering of the eye pressure to protect vision.
It should not be used if there is an allergy to sulfur, significant kidney disease or a history of kidney stones.
What are the benefits?
Rapid lowering of very high eye pressure to protect vision and alleviate pain when eye drops are unsuccessful.
What are the risks?
The risks are minimal when the drug is used for short periods ie several days. If the drug is used for weeks then daily potassium supplementation (either through diet or tablet) and regular monitoring of kidney function via blood tests becomes important
Are there any alternatives?
In rare instances where acetazolamide is unsuccessful or not safe to use then glycerine consumed orally or intravenous mannitol may be utilised by the treating eye doctor in a hospital setting as an alternative