PURPOSE: To determine by a pilot study whether standard treatment with the topical carbonic anhydrase inhibitor dorzolamide hydrochloride influences visual function under normal breathing conditions, during carbon dioxide inhalation, or during hyperventilation, and to establish criteria for future larger-scale studies. METHODS: We enrolled 12 normal subjects into this randomized double-masked placebo-controlled crossover study. Each subject was treated with either dorzolamide 2% or placebo, three times daily, for 4 days. After a 2-week washout period, the alternative topical agent was used under identical testing conditions. On day 2 of each treatment phase, contrast sensitivities to sinusoidal gratings of 1 and 4 cycles per degree (cpd) were assessed. On day 4, mean deviation values from full-threshold 10-2 visual fields were obtained. Three sets of each visual function test were obtained before each treatment phase, and in sequence on each testing day, during normal breathing (baseline), inhalation of carbon dioxide-enriched air, and hyperventilation while intraocular pressure was monitored. RESULTS: Contrast sensitivity at 4 cpd decreased significantly (P < .01) during carbon dioxide supplementation with placebo but showed no significant change with dorzolamide. The decrease in contrast sensitivity accompanying hyperventilation was attenuated (by nearly 50% at 1 cpd) during dorzolamide treatment. Dorzolamide treatment was associated with higher perimetry mean deviation values under each treatment condition and was statistically significant (P < .05) at baseline. CONCLUSIONS: Dorzolamide appears to enhance contrast sensitivity in normal subjects during physiologic hypercapnia and hypocapnia at 4 and 1 cpd, respectively. Also, under normal breathing conditions, dorzolamide therapy increases perimetric light sensitivity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas