Objective: To determine whether dosages of a selective β-blocking agent (betaxolol) and a topical carbonic anhydrase inhibitor (dorzolamide), sufficient to significantly lower intraocular pressure (IOP), have similar or disparate impact on the retinal and retrobulbar circulation. Design: Counterbalanced crossover, with open-label use of medications. Participants: Nine persons with normal-tension glaucoma (NTG). Intervention: After a 3-week drug washout, NTG patients were studied after 1 month of treatment with either dorzolamide or betaxolol, with determinations of IOP and retinal and retrobulbar hemodynamics. Main Outcome Measures: At baseline and after treatment with each drug, retinal arteriovenous passage time was determined by scanning laser ophthalmoscopy after fluorescein dye injection, and flow velocities in the central retinal and ophthalmic arteries were measured with color Doppler ultrasonography imaging. Results: Betaxolol and dorzolamide each lowered IOP significantly, with these changes apparent and maximal after 2 weeks (each P < 0.05). In contrast, dorzolamide (but not betaxolol) accelerated arteriovenous passage of fluorescein dye in the inferior temporal quadrant of the retina (P < 0.05). Neither drug affected arteriovenous passage in the superotemporal retina or any aspect of central retinal or ophthalmic artery flow velocity after either 2 or 4 weeks. Conclusions: Although both dorzolamide and betaxolol are effective ocular hypotensive agents and their topical instillation leaves retrobulbar hemodynamics unaltered, dorzolamide alone accelerates inferotemporal retinal dye transit. (C) 2000 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
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