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The digitalis group of drugs may become an important adjunct to our therapy of glaucoma. Simon and Bonting point out elsewhere in this issue that these drugs rank along with acetazolamide (Diamox) as effective inhibitors of aqueous humor formation and may find especial usefulness for glaucoma which is refractory to surgery.
Digoxin, which the authors studied most extensively, is one of that family of glycosides long used for congestive heart failure. In recent years these drugs have been found to inhibit an adenosine triphosphatase that is involved in secretion of sodium out of cells and in the formation of cerebrospinal fluid, urine, and aqueous humor. Given to human beings in digitalizing doses, digoxin has approximately the same effects on ocular tension as do the standard doses of acetazolamide. One only wonders, with the clairvoyance of hindsight, why some doctor, or some patient with glaucoma, hasn't observed this beneficial effect while
C. DG. Cardiac Glycosides and Glaucoma. Arch Ophthalmol. 1962;68(2):155-156. doi:10.1001/archopht.1962.00960030159001