Birth control pills may raise eye risks:
Women who use oral contraceptives for several years or longer may want to consider having their eyes checked more regularly as they get older. New research suggests that the pills may double their lifetime risk of developing glaucoma.
A new Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS) article reveals that increasingly aggressive therapies that block VEGF could cause damage in treating eye diseases. Scientists discovered inhibiting anti-VEGF might have a harmful effect on the tissue responsible for producing the fluid that bathes the eye, medically termed the ciliary body. Several anti-VEGF-A therapies are currently being widely and successfully used for the treatment of eye diseases like wet macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema and retinopathy of prematurity.
“I would be concerned that more aggressive VEGF inhibition in the eye would have deleterious effects on the ciliary body.”
A new study finds that certain changes in blood vessels in the eye’s retina can be an early warning that a person is at increased risk for glaucoma, an eye disease that slowly robs people of their peripheral vision. Using diagnostic photos and other data from the Australian Blue Mountains Eye Study, the researchers showed that patients who had abnormally narrow retinal arteries when the study began were also those who were most likely to have glaucoma at its 10-year end point. If confirmed by future research, this finding could give ophthalmologists a new way to identify and treat those who are most vulnerable to vision loss from glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a disease of the eye in which fluid pressure within the eye rises – if left untreated the patient may lose vision, and even become blind. The disease generally affects both eyes, although one may have more severe signs and symptoms than the other.
There is a small space in the front of the eye called the “anterior chamber”. Clear liquid flows in-and-out of the anterior chamber, this fluid nourishes and bathes nearby tissues. If a patient has glaucoma, the fluid does not drain properly – it drains too slowly – out of the eye. This leads to fluid build-up, and pressure inside the eye rises. Unless this pressure is brought down and controlled, the optic nerve and other parts of the eye may become damaged, leading to loss of vision.
GENERIC NAME: bimatoprost
BRAND NAME: Latisse, Lumigan
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Bimatoprost is a synthetic (man-made) drug that resembles and mimics the effects of natural chemicals (prostaglandins) produced by the body. It is used for reducing intraocular pressure (IOP) and increasing the growth of eyelashes. The exact mechanism of action is unknown. Bimatoprost may reduce IOP by increasing the outflow of aqueous humor from the eye of individuals with narrow angle glaucoma. Excessive aqueous humor may cause optic nerve damage and visual loss. It may increase eyelash growth by increasing the duration of the growing phase of the eyelash. The FDA approved Lumigan in March 2001 and Latisse in December 2008.