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A History of Glaucoma Pharmacology

Realini, Tony*

doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e3182058ead

The history of glaucoma pharmacology begins in 1862 with the isolation of physostigmine from the calabar bean. The discovery of epinephrine's intraocular pressure lowering capacity came along some 40 years later. During the 20th century, drug discovery and development accelerated, with the introduction of carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, beta blockers, and prostaglandin analogs. This survey of the history of glaucoma medications reviews some of the pivotal stories behind the development of the drugs that we use daily to manage our patients with glaucoma. In addition, some unmet needs that persist in glaucoma pharmacology are discussed.


Department of Ophthalmology, West Virginia University Eye Institute, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia

Received May 19, 2010; accepted October 13, 2010.

© 2011 American Academy of Optometry