What Are Latanoprost Eye Drops?

K.C. Bruning

Latanoprost eye drops are used to lower eye pressure. They are commonly prescribed for patients who have open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension. The drug works by increasing the drainage of fluid from the eye, which then reduces pressure. It is a prostaglandin analog medication.

Latanoprost eye drops.
Latanoprost eye drops.

A typical dosing schedule for latanoprost eye drops is one drop daily. Using more than this amount can significantly reduce the effectiveness of the drug. It usually is prescribed to be administered at the end of the day. Doctors sometimes advise patients to avoid using other kinds of eye drops while using the drug. A patient also might be advised to simply wait for a certain period of time before applying the other drops.

Users should pull back the lower eyelid before dropping the latanoprost eye drops into newly opened pocket.
Users should pull back the lower eyelid before dropping the latanoprost eye drops into newly opened pocket.

Before inserting any kind of medication into the eye, patients typically are advised to ensure that they have clean hands. The instructions for applying latanoprost eye drops include leaning the head back, pulling the lower eyelid from the eye and then making a pouch into which the medication can be dropped. After the drops have been inserted, the standard procedure is to press the eyelid’s inner corner and keep the eye closed for a couple of minutes.

This medication can damage soft contact lenses, usually by dissolving them. For this reason, lenses must be removed from the eyes before the drug is administered. Doctors also usually tell patients to keep contact lenses out of the eyes for about 15 minutes after application.

Some conditions might make taking latanoprost eye drops too risky or require the prescribing doctor to observe the patient closely during treatment. Any conditions that have caused injury, inflammation or swelling in the eye can be problematic. Eye infections might increase the risk of taking the drug. Patients who have developed other kinds of glaucoma might also be at high risk.

The most common side effects of using latanoprost eye drops need to be discussed with a doctor only if they are severe or do not eventually go away. They include burning, itching, stinging or dry eyes. There might also be eyelash growth changes, increased tearing and blurry vision. Some patients also report feeling like they have something in their eye.

There also are several potential side effects of using latanoprost eye drops that can be severe and should receive immediate medical attention. They include a discharge from the eye, darkened eyelids, pain and irritation. Some patients also experience peeling or blistered skin. Vision changes also should be discussed with a doctor.

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